Looking for a STEAM project that is approachable and easy for you as well as engaging, beneficial and FUN for the kiddos? You're in the right place! Paper sculpture is not a new concept; I have been doing the project on which this STEAM lesson is based for eight years! Now with STEAM, I push this traditional art project further with a focus on science, engineering and STEAM thinking / problem-solving. The approach makes a world of difference! Kids benefit from a hands-on trial and error experience with building/engineering through this project. I have done this project with Kindergarten and 1st grade students, but this open-ended project can be enjoyed by a wide range of grades! I typically do this project primarily with Kindergarten due to the topic coverage of ants (insects) and gravity during the school year (please note that I am doing this project in the art room and discuss/review these topics that have already been covered in the kids’ classes within the context of this project; the kids I am working with have prior knowledge going into this project. This project can be enjoyed in any classroom with kids with a range of prior knowledge!). This is a fabulous project for any time of the year! My Kindergarten artists are really ready to make the most of this project at the end of the year with their knowledge and skills. Plus, it is a really fun way to end the year (my students take them home the day of construction, mostly due to the fact that I cannot store over a hundred projects!) and I always hear about how the students take them outside at home and try to get as many ants on the playground as possible!). I think that this project is a really fun beginning of the year project with slightly older students (1st grade and up) to get the STEAM, creative and engineering juices flowing and warmed up for the year! Although discussion can take place for longer than one class session, I only use one class session for construction. Ideas for expanding this project are included below. Enjoy this ridiculously fun project from the art classroom of Claire Dunaway Cyr.
Included in this Lesson:
-Lesson Plan with Photos and Detailed Instructions
-Sample NATIONAL CORE VISUAL ART standards (add your own art standards as well as any applicable science/engineering/math standards)
-Ideas on expanding this lesson for collaboration as well as a few additional science and math ideas
-Ant factoid sheet (great for review!)
-Sample STEAM thinking/problem-solving sheet specific to the Ant Playground project (can be applied to other lessons, too!)
-Large piece of construction paper for bases (I use 12 x 18)
-Strips of construction paper in various colors and lengths (To keep it really easy, I just cut approximately 1 inch wide strips in the 12 inch and 18 inch lengths, since I’m cutting from 9x12 and 12x18 paper).
-Elmer’s School Glue or Elmer’s Glue All (I do not recommend glue sticks; Glue All is great for even stronger bonding!)