• Upper Grades Studio Art


Upper Grades Girls Make Clay Move

"With a partner, I worked in art and then in computer class on a claymation movie project. We really began in math class, with geometry. Each team chose a topic—ours was angles and what degrees they are. Then, in the art studio, we made clay figures and props to demonstrate our topic. We used modeling clay because it's flexible, and we knew we would need to keep bending the animals into different angles. But sometimes things did break off and we kept molding them back together. I wanted to make an elephant to animate. We were out of gray clay, so I used green, and that made it colorful. The ears and trunk were big, so I had to figure out how to make them stay on. Toothpicks and popsicle sticks! My partner made a Weenie Dog, because that's a good shape for bending into different angles. We also made backgrounds on posterboard—ours was sky and grass—and a fire hydrant for a prop. We wanted the background to be as simple as possible so that it didn't drown out the characters.

"We created a script for our movie, and then a storyboard, which we didn't have to follow exactly. We let the dog and elephant meet each other and had the dog tell the elephant how to do all the angles with her trunk. (My elephant was a girl.) We didn't do motions that were too hard, like mouths moving. To show the elephant talking, we had it move its tail and the dog swayed her body (the Weenie Dog was a girl, too), and for movements, we kept each step small. We used a digital camera, and then the computer, to copy the images into I-Movie. Once everything was in I-Movie, we could arrange the pictures in order, like a comic strip. We edited those and then added in voices and music and things like the title page and ending credits. We each made a presentation, and then got to burn the movie onto a CD."

—Upper Grades Student, 2003

Teacher's comment: A lesson in geometry is also a lesson in art, writing, and technology. The art segment itself involved a variety of media, from clay construction to painting and photography. Although the clay used in this project was more functional than sculptural, these students will also have the chance to work with ceramics. As a result of the recent renovations to art studios, the Art Department has a new sculpture closet that allows us to store projects in all stages, and we also have a new kiln. Students in every grade have the opportunity during the year to work with "real" clay.