My first rotation with the 5th graders focused on using line to create an abstract design using overlapping shapes and to use color value to make those elements look more 3d and real. The inspiration for this project was the work of Ricky Watts, a super cool painter based up in the Bay area of California.
To start the lesson, we looked at several of the murals Ricky has done around the country. Kids noticed that he repeats lines and shapes a lot in his work. They also saw how he used overlapping and color value changes to add a 3d quality to his compositions. They were able to figure out that he was adding white and black to his colors to make them darker or lighter. The kids loved checking out Ricky's work. The vibrant colors, the glow, and the scale really stood out to them.
Since we would be working on paper with color sticks (basically short colored pencils without the wood), I asked the kids how they would create a similar effect in their work. The answer- adjusting hand pressure.
As kids started to brainstorm and sketch, I emphasized that they are attempting to create an image inspired by Ricky's work and not copies or replicas of it. Once they did at least 2 sketches, they were to choose one for their final design and explain their reasoning with a a detailed because statement. They could then move on to white or black paper to draw out their design softly.
Students tried to capture light, medium, and dark color values in their design by adjusting how hard they pressed when coloring.
When their drawing was complete, I encouraged them to go back and take a closer look at it to see if they needed to revise any areas that could be improved. When that step was done, they could move on to the reflection piece of the process and complete their exit slip. Again, trying to add specific reasoning and details in their responses.
This project went over one session (80 minutes) and into the 2nd session for about 20 more. For the 2nd session, I gave them about 15 minutes to reflect/revise, and then I introduced them to a new project.
This project applied the color value skills they practiced in the Ricky Watts drawing to a video gane character design project. We discussed some old school and not so old school video games that use pixelated characters. We also revisited a pixelated print project from 4th grade. The kids noticed that these characters looked flat because of the lack of value contrast.
Their new role was to be a character designer for a video game and to also make parts of the character look more 3d by using light, medium, and dark color values. They sketched a couple ideas, picked one, explained their choice, and then drew it and added color to it on a larger sheet of paper.
The bonus... students that finished early and who had executed them properly, could build their character on a Bloxels board (a peg baord that goes with the Bloxels Builder app) and then take a photo of it with the app and actually drop it into a video game!
This was a BIG hook. I have been piloting game design with a small group of 4ths an a weekly basis and this was a great way to introduce the 5ths to the process as well. It provided an engaging and fun extension of the content of the first lesson too:)
Check this one out! She followed the project rules of just horizontals & verticals and using light and dark. Way to push the envelope!
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