Model Making: How-To

Basic Instructions

  • Create a prompt that guides students to think about which objects or symbols would represent a word, person, story, or process (ie: What symbol would best represent Sojourner Truth’s journey towards freedom?)
  • Ask students to visually or orally brainstorm objects or symbols that reflect the prompt
  • Guide students to choose the one object or symbol that best represents the prompt (ie: Which one symbol would allow you to tell the story of Sojourner Truth’s struggle and emancipation?)
  • Hand out the medium with which students will create their object or symbol model (ie: foil, clay, newspaper, wiki sticks)
  • After students create their models, ask students to display them on a piece of construction paper, with a title or phrase underneath
  • Have students circulate the room in a Gallery Walk, silently viewing each other’s art
  • Processing points:

Describe: What kinds of objects/symbols did our classmates create?

Analyze:  What was similar and different between the models?

Relate:  What story does your model tell?

Scaffolding Tips for Success

    • Point out that students can play with the concepts they’re learning in Art in Specials relating to balance, proportion/scale, movement and form.
    • Give students creative constraints, such as a time limit or restricted amount of materials.
    • As the students experiment with the material discuss how “mistakes” can actually lead to better ideas, introducing the idea of “happy mistakes.”
  • If using aluminum foil, show that it can be ripped, flattened, woven, or scrunched up to create texture and emphasis.  For younger students, show how aluminum foil can be ripped and then reapplied by having the foil wrap around and “hug” other pieces.

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