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6-8: Flower Stepping Stones

by Pilar Pedersen, Learn NC

This lesson plan is intended to encourage learners to integrate the visual arts with science and appreciate nature. Students will create a round or square stepping stone using colored glass pieces with a mortar and sand mixture. The students will have the opportunity to watch the stepping stones attract various types of small animals like birds and butterflies. As a result, students can observe, study, and draw these animals.

A lesson plan for Grade 6 Visual Arts Education

Students will:

  • 1. learn how to mix mortar and sand topping.
  • 2. learn how to make a composition.
  • 3. make a flower composition using the colored glass pieces.
  • 4. integrate art with science and learn to appreciate nature.

Time required for lesson: 2 weeks

Materials/resources

  • -pictures of various flowers
  • -assorted pieces of colored glass
  • -clear adhesive contact paper
  • -ruler
  • -pencil
  • -scissors
  • -Vaseline or vegetable oil (any lubricant)
  • -gloves
  • -large spatula
  • -2 buckets (one bucket for mortar; one for sand topping)
  • -mortar (easy mix cement such as Quickrete)
  • -sand topping
  • -water
  • -aluminum cake pans (square or round)
  • -dishwashing scrub pad

Technology resources

computer with Internet access (optional)

Pre-activities

Week 1 – Day 1

1. Learn basic skills of a composition.

2. Look at various pictures of flowers.

3. Sketch out and color possible flower compositions.

4. Lubricate the inside of the aluminum pans.

Activities

Week 1 – Day 2

1. Have students measure the inside of the aluminum pan or have them trace the bottom.

2. Cut out the adhesive contact paper the size of the inside of the pan.

3. Peel the paper off of the contact paper and lay the adhesive side up.

4. Make a composition using the colored glass pieces and place the glass pieces on the adhesive part of the contact paper. (Tip: Place the prettiest side of the glass down).

5. Place the contact paper (with the glass design facing up) inside the lubricated aluminum pan.

Week 1 – Day 3

1. In one bucket, using gloves and a large spatula, mix mortar and water until an oatmeal texture is achieved.

2. In the second bucket, using gloves and a large spatula, mix sand topping and water until an oatmeal texture is achieved.

3. Carefully pour the mortar mixture, filling only half of the pan.

4. Then, carefully pour the sand topping mixture, filling the rest of the pan.

5. Let the stepping stones dry for at least 3 days.

Week 2 – Day 1

  • After at least 3 days of air drying, slowly remove stepping stone from the aluminum pan to avoid cracking the mortar. Use a dishwashing scrub pad to clean the dirt from the glass.

Week 2 – Day 2

  • Critique the stepping stones. Which composition works best? Which one has the best color scheme? Which one best utilizes space?

Week 2 – Day 3

  • Place the stepping stones outside (in the student garden or the school garden) after letting them dry a week. Observe which small animals are attracted.

Week 2 – Days 4 and 5

  • Have the students draw the small animals in their sketchbooks.

Assessment

  • The students and teacher will view all stepping stones and critique them as a class. Talk about which compositions work the best, which have the best color scheme, and which one best uses space.
  • Let the stepping stones dry for at least 3 days before putting them outside. Then, as an independent study, observe the small animals that are attracted to the stepping stones and draw them in various aspects.

Supplemental information

samples of finished stepping stones (see images)

Related websites

Some online resources for pictures of flowers http://www.picturesof.net/flowers/flowersindex.html

http://www.acclaimstockphotography.com/topic_flowers.html

http://ncnatural.com/wildflwr/flowrpg.html

http://www.ncwildflower.org/

Comments

It takes about a week to make the stepping stones—40 minutes every day for 5 days. This activity is really affordable to do and the students really enjoy it. The mortar and the sand topping are each about $4 per bag and combined make about 30 stepping stones. This is a great way to decorate the school garden and show off the children’s art.

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