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Through this lesson, Mrs. Mattinson’s art class demonstrated that art is not just on a page, but can also be in clay.
As students begin to learn about how to manipulate clay, Mrs. Mattinson teaches them how to form shapes through their own experimentation. The class started off with rolling a piece of clay in a ball shape, softening it a bit and making it easier to shape. Once they had their ball, the students then cut it in half. The end goal of this project was to be able to create a pot so they needed a half dome-like blob in order to be able to dig out the excess clay and begin forming their pot. The students used pieces of fishing lines to cut the ball to give it a nice clean cut.
After the cut was made, they started to scoop out the insides of the dome with a spoon. Next, they stuck their fingers in the clay and started to form bowl. After they had made a shape that resembled a pot, Mrs. Mattinson instructed them to start over. This class was all about understanding how to manipulate the clay and how to make the shapes that they will need to finish their pots at a later time. At the end of class they rolled up their clay into a ball, put it in a ziplock (so it wouldn’t dry out), wrote their name on the bag and cleaned up their tables.
While Mrs. Mattinson was walking around to help anyone with questions, the students were largely learning on their own. This session was not about creating art, but understanding what strategies work best when using clay. It required ingenuity, experimentation and helped the students develop their own problem solving skills, which are skills that are necessary and will last throughout a student’s life.