Thursday, May 29, 2014

Popsicle Stick Math Art


Our last art project of the year I gleaned from Edwin Bontrager.  It was originally supposed to be pinata making, but working so hard on them just to bash them up didn’t sit well with me, so instead we turned them into popsicle-art-sculptures.  Most of the students chose an architectural theme, which I thought was fabulous.  Several of their choices we have studied in history and geography over the past few years.

Before we begin, we always have them carefully plan what they are going to do.  This helps us from having a bunch of half-finished, not-to-scale flops for art projects.  Usually they have to find a picture of what they would like their  project to look like.  Next they measured it and then multiplied to figure out how many inches or centimeters tall and wide their finished projects would be.  This was a good application of math skills.  Then I gave them butcher-type paper on which to draw the base to scale.  More measuring and use of math skills.  After this, the fun part came.  

Each pair (an older student helping a younger one) got a handful of popsicle sticks.  Using hot glue or good old regular glue, the projects began to take shape.  We worked on this for two different art periods. 

The next week we put paper maiche over them.  This always makes a lovely mess.  A few of the larger, taller ones (Big Ben, the Great Pyramid, and one of the Leaning Towers of Pisa) crashed under the weight.  We should have reinforced them more.  Hey, we’re learning about engineering too by default.  Two we salvaged, the third was irreparable, so they wrote a funny poem about their flopped project, which was still being artistic.  (To get an “A” in art at our school you must finish your project in some form or another.)  

The following week was the last week of school and we painted them.  We ran out of black paint for some strange reason . . . . (See the post on the “Batmobil” if you want to know why, and yes, it is purposely misspelled.)  

The results were unique and imaginative, as are our wonderful students.  

 The Leaning Tower of Pisa