by YIA Mentor Artist Katy Bernheim
What would be a fun, creative way to reflect on topics covered throughout the year in Science class? This May in the 5th grade at Hall Middle School, the Science teacher, Ted Stoeckley, the students, and I put together greeting cards using a variety of techniques to summarize and reflect on the ideas and concepts of 5th grade science.
We started with printmaking. This would be the image for the front of the card. Before I came to the class, the students had drawn 4 thumbnail sketches depicting their favorite Science topic, experiment or concept. There were clouds, the water cycle, bottle rockets, crystals, pendulums. We talked about block printing and the scratch foam we would be using as a printing plate, and what kinds of images would work best for that medium. The students then transferred their drawings to the foam.
Next we explored some simple pop-up paper engineering techniques. We cut first- and second-generation folds into cardstock to make stairsteps; we cut second folds into first generation folds to create an in-and-out look. The students helped each other trouble shoot what they did to get a result they didn’t expect. Why wasn’t it popping out? Why didn’t it stair step? The kids kept these cards as a warm up to their final piece.
Next we printed our foam plates. Listening for the just the right sound that told us we had enough, but not too much, ink on the brayer, the students inked up their plates and printed images on four pieces of paper. They had four colors to choose from, in any combination. Everyone had at least one good print to choose from for the cover of their card.
During our last meeting we put it all together. The students chose their favorite image, and chose one of four colors of card stock. Building on the structures they had learned previously, the kids made a new card with added shapes, extensions and drawings to illustrate the concept they had chosen. They finished off the cards with some research and text to explain their idea in more detail.
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