This project came from the ever brilliant Mrs. Nguyen over at her blog.
As i've mentioned in other 3rd grade "travels" my goal is to give my students the biggest picture of a culture or country as I can in a one project time frame. I came up with framing my lesson in a way that gives them small background knowledge and then connecting one of those background pieces to artmaking. To help my students track their new found knowledge, each time we "travel" to a new place I have them fill out a passport page. You can read more about this process from this post.
Day 1: Intro to Australia, passport, animal practice, and set up.
We started by looking at the Australian flag, looking at Australia on a map, and then 5 facts about Australia!
1. Australia has over 10,000 beaches. You could visit a new beach every day for 27 years
2. There are more kangaroos than people in Australia
3. There is a lake in Australia called Lake Hillier that is known for its pink color
4. The top 10 deadliest snakes can be found in Australia
5. Australian Aboriginals make artwork using dots to tell stories about their tribes and land.
Obviously the fact we dived into the most was about the Aboriginals. I was trying to get them to use textual clues to figure what Aboriginals meant and we finally got it! However, their favorite fact was probably the pink lake!
We watched part of this documentary from 37:02 to 40:23 as an introduction to the Aboriginal culture and their dot art.
Then the first part of their passports were filled out and it was time to start working. I provided them with the handout below and then they practiced different animals they wanted to create. When they had one down comfortably they drew it on a 6x9 piece of bright construction paper, cut it out, and glued it to a 9x12 piece of black construction paper.
Day 2: Starting the Dots!
Kicked off the day with another short video...
After the demo they got to work making dots like machines! Some students had to finish drawing and cutting their animals before creating dots. Each table had a pallette with a full set of colors and enough scratch art sticks for each color. They used the back flat end of the sticks to create the dots. We talked about using just the right amount of paint and how many dots were just enough before dipping again and what the best way to go about laying down dots was. The first workday everyone was really focused and into it....
Day 3 & 4: Workdays!
Started off each day with a little review about what we remembered from Australia and then they got to work. As time went on they started to lose motivation and focus but not finishing was not an option. I did allow friends to help (if they wanted help) once we got down to the last few minutes on the last workday.
I am so proud of their perseverance and quality that came out of this and REALLY glad I didn't go bigger than 9x12. I am thinking next time that early finishers could do a really big group one!
Looking for feedback on two things....
Do you think it was okay that I "made" them finish and not quit?
Do you think it was okay that I allowed friends to help (if they wanted) at the end?