Early Childhood Studio Lesson
Are you looking for an
engaging art lesson that
integrates art, science, and
children’s literature? Then
this lesson may work for you and
your students. Early childhood science curriculums include the study
of bugs and insects. Combine this
topic with a cute story about bugs and
a project that includes working with
clay, and the result will be a classroom filled with happy children.
The Squeegy Bug
As a motivation, I begin this lesson
by reading the story, The Squeegy
Bug by Bill Martin, Jr. and Michael
Sampson. I use a chart or library book
that illustrates insect body parts to
discuss the attributes of Squeegy bug
and other insects. We identify body
parts, examine the eyes, and
count legs and antennae. We
also observe that bugs and insects
To help students visualize symmetry,
I have them take various geometric
shapes and fold them in half. We
observe that the shapes have a line of
symmetry. We then look at our own
bodies and find the line of symmetry.
The next step is to identify the line of
symmetry in insects.
In making the insects, I demonstrate
how to divide the clay into four
pieces. I roll a small, a medium, and a
large ball of clay. The balls of clay are
used to make the head, thorax, and
abdomen of the insect. The leftover
chunk of clay will be used to make
the eyes, mouth, or wings. I recommend using self-hardening clay since
six nails will be inserted to make the
legs, and two smaller, thinner nails
will be inserted to make the antennae.
Students should be encour-
aged to score and moisten the
clay with water when joining
body parts. Earthenware clay or dif-
ferent kinds of modeling materials
can also be used to make the insects.
If using earthenware clay, the nails
can withstand the heat of a kiln
firing, but may have a flaky, dark
In order to keep track of
each student’s work, I take a large
piece of paper and write each child’s
name on it. Students bring their work
to me when they are finished, I check
for stability, and place the insect upon
the appropriate name. The next time
students come to class, I can easily
pass the insects back to them. We use
acrylic paint to finish our bugs, but
tempera can also be used. Now, your
students, too, can go buggy!
Heather White teaches art at E.P. Razor
Elementary School in Denton, Texas.
Students identify connections
between the visual arts and other
disciplines in the curriculum.
• Students will develop manipulative skills when making
• Students will accurately identify the parts of an insect.
• self-hardening clay, earthenware clay, or other modeling
• wooden skewers
• tools for imprinting patterns
into clay (optional)