This lesson came about partially from my desire for a student-made pot of flowers that wouldn’t fall over. I first had the idea of clay flowers years ago and I finally perfected the lesson for my students.
We start with a good-sized portion of lightweight, sturdy air-dry clay for each student (base the amount of clay on the desired size of flowers). The students then divide their clay into three equal portions, so each is one third of the whole—a great math connection!
With the first portion, we make a sunflower. For this, we create a flat pancake of clay and snip small slits into its edges using scissors. We pinch each cut section to form the petals.
It should resemble a little sun. To finish, a small ball of clay is placed in the middle.
For the second flower, we roll a number of small balls of clay, which we flatten and shape into a round flower, and finish with a ball of clay in the center to keep it all together. As you can see, this group of children liked four to five petals for this flower.
With the third portion, we create a rose. For this, we make a long clay worm, flatten it and then loosely roll it up. I then add pipe-cleaner (or chenille) stems to each flower and then we let the projects dry.
In our next class, we paint our dry clay flowers with watercolors and set them aside to them dry. Next, we cut simple flower pots from construction paper (stencils optional).
The projects are assembled on inexpensive foam board. The stems are arranged to fit “into” (under) the flower pots. Everything is then glued down with Tacky glue. The final step is to add our names to the foam-board backing.
My students love this lesson, and so do I. Each project is unique and reflects the student who makes it. I recommend this for K–3. And another thing, these flowers make a perfect gift for Valentine’s or Mother’s Day.
Elementary students will …
• understand the basic shapes of various flowers and their petals.
• use math skills to divide portion of air-dry clay into three equal parts, and divide one of those parts into four or five small balls.
• manipulate modeling material using clay building techniques to create various flowers.
NATIONAL ART STANDARDS
• Creating: Conceiving and developing artistic ideas and work.
• Presenting: Interpreting and sharing artistic work.
• Responding: Understanding and evaluating how the arts convey meaning.
• Images of flowers
• Air-dry clay
• Child-safe scissors
• Watercolor paints, brushes, water dishes
• Pipe cleaners/chenille stems, tacky glue
• Foam board, construction paper
• Permanent color markers
• Paper pattern for vase
Karla Gearhart teaches art at Verner Elementary School in Verona, Pennsylvania.
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