EQ: How can nature/our environment inspire art?
Vocabulary: inspire, camouflage, kinetic art, relief sculpture
Goal: Students will get to experience a true arts-integrated lesson which connects with science (fish species and habitats), social studies (water bodies in Georgia), and language arts (summarizing and writing). Students will summarize important facts about their fish from a paragraph (language arts), create an aquarium habitat based on what they know about their particular fish's environment (fresh water or salt water), and include a form of camouflage (used to defend against predators). Students will also experience making kinetic art (moving art) and understand what a relief sculpture is (a 3-D piece of artwork which is not meant to be viewed from all sides).
We also talk about why, if all bodies of water typically run into each other, are rivers and lakes freshwater while the ocean is saltwater -- this one typically stumps them.
It is because of a variety of factors- two of which are land elevation and the hydrologic cycle (or the water cycle). When ocean water evaporates up into the air, salt does not go with it... so when it comes down as rain over landmasses, it isn't salty - and rain is what feeds rivers and lakes. We also look at elevation maps of Georgia and talk about how the gradual downward slope of the landmass causes water to run downstream towards the ocean. As the water travels downstream it erodes the land around it and consequently picks up and carries small amounts of salt which empties out into the ocean.
After we finish talking about that, we move on to look at aquariums (artificial habitats for different types of aquatic life). Since my school is located in metro-Atlanta, many of my students have been to the Georgia Aquarium before, so when I show them pictures of it - they get super excited! :)
Aquariums are amazing pieces of functional art in and of themselves - and are designed specifically to be looked at (lots of things must be considered in their design).
I then introduce students to the aquarium project they'll be working on and have them come up to the front of my room to "go fishing" to determine which fish they'll be focusing on for their aquarium.
|Student drawing. WOW!!|
I also give students a heavy-duty paper plate (think Kroger-brand Chinet) that will eventually become the back base of their aquarium. On the back of their fish printout is a written paragraph giving basic details about their fish. Students must read this paragraph, then pull 3 facts from it to write on the back of their paper plate.
Once students are done painting, I have them meet me on the carpet and we read the book "Mister Seahorse" by Eric Carle. The pictures in the book are a PERFECT compliment to this project as they really illustrate the idea of fish camouflaging into their environments. After reading the book I give each student a piece of transparency paper which will become the plastic cover on the front of our aquariums. Using a tracer, they trace a circle onto the transparency paper with sharpie, then draw something that their fish could camouflage behind.
I also give them a piece of fishing line to tape to the back of their fish (probably about 9" long or so).
As they are working on all of this, I walk around the classroom and punch a hole into the top side of their chinet-quality plate using a needle tool. Once their fish has the fishing line attached to the back, they string the line through this hole so the other end is hanging outside of their plate. A bead is tied onto this end to prevent the fishing line from slipping all the way back into the plate.
On the fifth day students finish anything that they still have to work on. Once everything is ready, they bring all their materials to me and I hot glue the top cover (with the camouflage) onto the chinet-quality plate. ANNNNNNDDDDDD DONE!
I've gotten SOOO many compliments from classroom teachers about this project. They absolutely love it! :)