Wednesday, December 4, 2013

oh, aurora.

This week the 5th graders are creating their own versions of the Northern Lights in pastels. I start the  lesson by reviewing how we created 3d volumes with diagonal lines in the last project we did together, the Souther Salazar Dream Machine drawing. I also share the letter he wrote to the kids:)

I then tell them that we will be using diagonals and one point perspective in this project too. I show them how you can make consistent shapes, like trees, look like they are getting bigger and closer to us by using a starting point and a diagonal line. (Art 2.1) I also talk about how you can make flat shapes look more 3d by using light and shadow and tints and shades.

Then we check out our subject matter for the lesson, the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. I explain how they are created and we look at images of them from the ground and outer space. I also share a short video with them, so they can see that these are not static, but they actually move across the night time sky.

The kids have been pretty blown away by these images.

We then get started with the hands on portion. First, we make a stencil for the tree line. All the tree tops should touch the ascending diagonal on their paper. They cut it out, and then use it to create the dark trees by pushing pastel colors away from the stencil.

 Students could make their trees detailed or simple.

Students could use just one color to make their trees stand out, or they could blend multiple colors.

After that, I model how to make some of their lights look more 3d by adding white to edges and making tints of the colors. When they blend the color into the black they are creating shades of those colors, which can also add to the 3d shape of some of their lights. I also show them how they can blend colors in different directions to create different types of lights.

 Students could rotate their paper to help keep smudging to a minimum.

I suggest going back and adding black to their tree line if they got smudged up too much. However, I encourage them to do this at the very end, so the black pastel on their fingers won't muddy up any of their light bright sky.

At the end of the activity, they complete an 2 part exit slip. They need to explain how they made 3d space and/or volume and they need to explain how they would feel if they saw these lights in person.

If students finish early, they may go to one of the few creation centers I have set up along the outer edges of the classroom. One of the centers getting more attention lately has been the magnetic pattern board. Kids have been working individually and cooperatively and they have been making some interesting shapes.


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