Third grade studies skeletons in science, so this year I asked our PTO to purchase a skeleton for the art room. They said yes and it was delivered this winter. The skeleton sat in a box for a few weeks because I didn’t have the space or time to open it up, but it was fun having the kids guess what was inside. 🙂
First, I taught students about cropping and they created a few thumbnail sketches to choose a composition they were interested in studying. When I originally thought of using the skeleton with third grade, I thought students would draw the entire skeleton, but once it was assembled, I realized that would be too much for them, so I told them to “zoom in” on a part of the skeleton that they thought was interesting. I demoed this on the white board and once I thought students understood what might make an interesting composition, they began sketching. I reminded students that the sketch did not have to have every single detail–it should just give an idea of what part they wanted to focus on and the general shapes they saw.
Once students chose a final composition, they drew a final version onto larger paper.
Then I talked about shading and students began shading their drawings. I told them that they must include at least three different values.
WOW! I was TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY by what students created. While this type of observation drawing was a little hard for some students, most of them ran away with it! They were generally interested in observing the bones and trying to draw them accurately.
In the future, I think I might do this drawing assignment in the fall with older kids closer to Halloween and maybe do a slightly different version with younger students.