Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New Artists: Bubble Art

"Enthusiasm just creates bubbles; it doesn't keep them from popping." - Adora Svitak
New Artists 2014 has begun at Phillip's Elementary! This semester we are learning about the Elements and Principles of Art with 3rd and 4th grade students. Just recently we had a lesson all about shapes and forms and we had a ton of fun.

To begin the lesson, the class was asked, "How can we make a 2D shape look like a 3D form?" Some shouted,"Shadows!", "Lines!", "Uhh...". Students then tried different shading methods and techniques to make circles look like spheres, squares look like cubes, and triangles look like cones. Some attempted stippling, using specks and dots to show value, while others blended pencil with their fingers.

For the main activity, I wanted to find a project that challenged our New Artists to 1.) create a 3D form on a 2D surface, 2.) be collaborative, and 3.) provide a project that would have a great end result. Thanks to Smart Class and The Lost Sock, I was inspired to have our students get creative making pastel bubbles on black paper. We definitely had fun as a class!

  • Black Construction Paper
  • Oil Pastels, Chalk Pastels, or Construction Paper Crayons
  • Variety of Round Objects (Pots, cups, lids, etc.)
  • Bubbles (yes, real bubbles and a wand)
  • Pictures and/or Videos of Bubbles (optional but important for referencing)

Step 1: Bubble Study

First, it was important to have students learn with their eyes about what they were going to do. I blew bubbles for the class as I walked around the room. Some questions I asked to get them thinking included:
"What do you see?"
"Can you see through the bubbles?"
"What colors do you notice?"
"How does the light reflect on the bubble?"
"How can we duplicate these effects on paper?"
A few new words we learned from these questions were transparency, symmetrical, blending, reflection, and light source!

Step 2: Draw circles

We used pencil for this portion. Students used various round objects like lids, cups, and pots to create different sized circles on their black construction paper. In addition, we needed some shiny reflections in our circles. Some circles overlapped and some went off the page creating an open composition.

Step 3: Collaborate

The New Artists were then challenged to have some circles on their page carry over to their neighbors page so that they may collaborate on their bubbles. They loved this idea!

Step 4: Color

Now it's time for the tricky part. Earlier we discussed the colors we noticed in the bubbles, like green, purple, and blue. Then we discussed transparency by talking about how our black paper needs to be showing in our bubbles so we can't color our bubbles in completely. Finally, we need to show light reflection, so we need to utilize our white pastels too. Ready with our new knowledge, it was now time to put our findings to the test. Each student's bubbles came out so unique!


The students really loved this project. It was so fun to try and recreate the bubbles. I would recommend this art activity for 4th grade and up. Try it out!

Lessons I Learned:
  • Chalk Pastels made blending easy but it wasn't easy to store. So, I went with oil pastels.
  • Originally I wanted to have a slow mo video of bubbles and a constant slideshow of pictures of bubbles and other artists renditions of bubbles playing throughout the lesson. We had some technology issues and weren't able to do this but I would recommend.
  • This project can take some time, plan for at least 2 classes (45 min each).
  • Limit the number of bubbles "allowed". Too many made it difficult for students.
- Corey

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