December 2019

Structure

Art teachers provide lessons for students to build and construct with loose parts and three-dimensional materials. Students create mixed-media STEAM-based treehouses, build 3D mod pod houses from paper, study an outdoor sculpture and create pyramid assemblages, sculpt clay homes inspired by historical American architecture, and more.

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Editor's Letter
Editor's Letter

Editor's Letter

Architects Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckminster Fuller, and Le Corbusier and artists Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky all shared a similar childhood educational experience, one that likely shaped their professional lives. Their early childhoods were schooled through Friedrich Fröebel’s creation of kindergarten. The word kindergarten was based on two related ideas: young students would play in and learn from nature while being nurtured like plants in a garden.

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Thinking Like an Architect
Early Childhood

Thinking Like an Architect

In this kindergarten lesson, we looked specifically at the Next Generation Science Standards to connect authentic art experiences that also incorporate science and engineering practices such as “Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information.” We also integrated the mathematical practices to “make sense of problems and persevere in solving them” and kindergarten mathematical domains such as “identify and describe shapes; and analyze, compare, create, and compose shapes.” 

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Busy Cities
Elementary

Busy Cities

Curiosity, adventure, and discovery may explain why students are stimulated by pictures, virtual tours, and visits to New York City and other cities across the United States. Because we live near New York City, many of my students and their families have had the opportunity to visit and discover the riches the city has to offer.

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Mod Pods
Elementary

Mod Pods

For architects to design buildings that are structurally strong, they must understand that the forms they use, such as cubes, cylinders, and rectangular prisms are well-constructed and made of sturdy materials. You probably don’t have the materials available to architects in your artroom, but your students can build surprisingly strong structures starting with stacked cubes made from high-quality construction paper. 

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Pyramid Assemblages
Middle School

Pyramid Assemblages

Right outside the windows of my artroom is the sculpture Visual Dialogue (1982) by Lynda Rockwood. In Washington State, public art is supported by the state arts commission by a policy to foster culture, the arts, and interest in the viable development of the state’s artists. Funds are set aside for public artwork grants for new construction projects.

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Crystal Fractal Installations
Middle School

Crystal Fractal Installations

Fractals are a special set of geometrical patterns that repeat infinitely at any scale. The Sierpinski Tetrahedron, born from the Sierpinski Triangle, is an example of this. One of the most intriguing characteristics of fractals is that they are self-similar across different scales—the smaller parts of the shape are similar to the whole.

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Planar Constructions
High School

Planar Constructions

As a sculpture and design teacher, I work to teach my students large concepts associated with working three-dimensionally, such as space, form, and movement. These concepts are usually taught combined and connected to each other. My approach— although not new—is effective.

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American Architecture
High School

American Architecture

I dreaded my high school’s required course in American history and waited until the last possible opportunity to take it. This meant that for six weeks of the summer before my graduation, I sat in a humid, uninspiring classroom during summer school. It was packed with students who were as uninterested as I was. Looking out the window as metal blinds slapped against plaster walls, I couldn’t wait to run off to the pool after class.

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Classroom Setup to Support Learning
The Open Art Room

Classroom Setup to Support Learning

I have a brand-new classroom this school year. This is the fifth time in seven years that I’ve moved rooms, and I’m delighted with my new space because it’s beautiful and it’s mine for the foreseeable future, which means that I can really settle down and make it my own.

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Embroidered Narratives
Looking & Learning

Embroidered Narratives

Michelle Kingdom is a textile artist who uses embroidery techniques to create complex narrative scenes that explore personal journeys, relationships, vague mythologies, and allegories. These small-scale works feature groups of women or single female figures in mysterious symbolic narratives. These scenes explore a range of human emotions and expectations, representing loss, gain, inclusion, alienation, truth, and fantasy.

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