The fifth grade teacher at my school specifically asked me to do an art lesson about vertebrates with the fifth graders. They are currently studying this in science, and she thought it would be great to have it carry over into art. I immediately agreed, and I came up with this art lesson. I tied this lesson into the artwork of Alberto Giacometti. He is one of my favorite artists, so I was totally excited to introduce my students to him. I thought his artwork was perfect for discussing vertebrates because he reduces people and animals to their basic forms, and it is quite easy to tell that these animals have backbones. To begin this project, we began with pipe cleaners. I asked the students to think of the pipe cleaners as the animals bones. We twisted and bent the pipe cleaners until we had a head, back, and legs on our sculptures. To help our sculptures stand up, I had them use a tiny bit of modeling clay for the feet. I then asked the students to cover everything with foil. The foil acted kind of like skin. We then used a hot glue gun to glue the sculpture to the cardboard. Lastly, I had the students use gold paint to paint both the cardboard and the foil sculpture. This helped make the sculpture less like foil and more like an actual gold sculpture.
I was very impressed with the results of this project. My students always surprise me with their artistic talent though!