"Let's do a quick review before going back to our sculptures. Think back to the figure drawings we did. What was the point of the drawings?" asked Persell Middle School art teacher Michela Tehan.
"To show movement," said one student.
"That's correct. But what was different about our drawings?"
Persell Middle School fifth-grader Bailey Steenburn works on his wire human figure sculpture during Michela Tehan’s art class.
"We had to show the drawings realistically. You have to depict bending at the joints."
"Yes, your drawings shouldn't show Rubberband Man. You had to show where someone could physically bend at the joints. What else did we learn before we created our figure sculptures?"
"We learned about armature, or the framework around which the sculpture is built, sort of like a skeleton in a human," said another student.
"Remember when you are working on your sculptures today, proportion is very important. You need to make sure that all of the parts of the sculpture are proportional to what they are in real-life are like the arms are smaller than the legs as well as realistic."
The fifth-graders worked on wire figure sculptures as the final project in the "Figures and Faces" unit. The unit began with learning the proportions of the human head and body through prior-knowledge drawing exercises. The unit incorporated mathematics including the idea of size, scale, proportion, mass and fractions.
Students, as a final culminating project, built a wire human figure sculpture that focused on the art element of form and line along with art principal movement. Students manipulated the wire by hand to create a sturdy and strong support for the figures and then added mass to create a figure showing proper muscle mass, proportions and human movement. They learned that a form 3-D could be created with a line (wire).
"Mrs. Tehan's art projects are extremely creative and fun," said Persell fifth-grader Kayla Butts. "In this project I learned how to draw and sculpt how the body actually bens and where the correct muscle mass should go in a human figure."
Persell fifth-graders do many amazing art projects throughout the year including: Aboriginal Animal Drawings, Native American Paper Mache Mask, Fiber Weaving, Self-Portrait Collages, Picasso-like Portraits, and Figures and Faces. Art is a 13-week class, filled with hands-on projects encompassing art history and crossing into many other curricular areas including math, English Language Arts, science and social studies.
"It is important to create a positive learning environment where students are motivated to explore the world of art. Middle school students should be able to use and understand the Elements of Art. My overall goal is to expose students to as much art and experience as many meaningful processes, as possible to spark a lifelong interest and appreciation for art in general," said Mrs. Tehan. "Visual art class expands the boundaries of learning and fosters higher level and creative thinking. The results of teaching art are not quantifiable, however experiencing and creating meaningful art enhances understanding of other subject areas and helps students make connections between their lives and other artists' lives both past and present."