Sunday, February 7, 2016

Wooden Block Architects

I have had a lot of great lessons in the past few weeks, and no time to post about them. This was from two weeks ago, and may be one of the best days in the art room my 2nd graders have ever had. This lesson has a ton packed into one day; collaboration, play, reflection, and much more.

Students started off using wooden blocks to collaboratively build a house. They had 5 minutes and everyone in their table group had to be part of the build. 5 minutes is a lot of time. Some groups built, tore down, and rebuilt multiple houses until the time was up.

Next, students photographed their houses. I only have one camera, so a few selected students were chosen to help. This went quickly, and with a bit of direction.

After photographing, students created observational drawings of their houses in their art journals. This was the most successful observational drawing exercise we have had this year. I think it was because these were built from shapes that we had already practiced drawing, and they had the hands on experience of manipulating those shapes to create what they were now drawing. 2nd grade students actually drew their buildings in 3d from their own view points, not something that they created in their heads. I was blown away.

After drawing from observation, students had to label the parts of their house; door, window, garage, porch, etc. Lastly, right before clean up, table groups had a contest to see who could build the tallest tower. Unfortunately, this went by so fast I did not get pictures of the towers. Students had one chance, and kept building until they fell over. 

All of these activities happened in one 50 minute class. It was a great day.

Materials use: wood blocks, pencils, erasers, digital camera, student-made art journals.

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