“Working with clay fosters a special kind of communication among hands, clay and imagination. It is a very personal, almost therapeutic experience.”
– Cathy Topal
Pre-Kindergarten (Three- and Four-Year Old’s)
How can I make sure my sculpture passes the upside-down test?
- Deli container with clay
- Tray with damp sponge
- 8 x 10” cardboard base
Step 1: Invitation to Explore
- What did we do with the clay last week?
- Let’s make pieces using what you learned last week.
- Make 4 pieces by rolling, pinching, etc.
- Invite a student to put the pieces together.
- What do you think would happen if I turn this sculpture upside down? Hold it upside down—it falls apart. How can we make these pieces stay together?
- Look at the lines between the pieces. We have to make them disappear. How do you think we can do this?
- Demo pressing and smoothing until the lines between separate pieces disappear. Hold the sculpture upside-down again to show that it now sticks together.
- Let’s make clay sculptures that stand up and pass the upside-down test!
Step 2: Work-time
- Have 3-4 students come to the art center.
- Have students work directly on the table.
- Do not give them any instructions.
- As they work, ask them what they are doing, and help give words to their actions — roll, poke, pinch, pull, press, etc.
- Take photos as students explore for documentation. Record their observations as they work.
- After students have had ample time to explore, ask them to press or roll their clay into a chunk and place the clay into deli containers with lids.
- Save two clay sculptures for reflection.
Step 3: Reflection
- What do you see that is different about these two sculptures?
- After reflection, have the students whose work was shared roll it into a ball and put it in the deli container in the art center.
Clay, soft, hard, cool, wet, silky, roll, squeeze, poke, twist, flatten, break, pinch, sculpture, three-dimensional