Arts and crafts are not only relaxing and enjoyable activities, but they also promote personal expression, reflection and development. But the curriculum art lessons that take place in schools often don’t do enough to explore these benefits and tend to set work for children to copy, therefore bypassing the opportunity for students to explore, interpret and create their own ideas. You may be pleasantly surprised by how many curriculum subjects can use crafting.
The frequency of diagrams in teaching biology makes it a great subject to use crafts in. Making and examining models of the various parts of the body, cells and other organisms: 3D sculptures of the brain are fun to construct before using them to revise the functions of the different lobes; a marble-run-style model of the digestive system with ‘food’ to travel through it will help students to learn the internal organs and their jobs. A class activity can be made of it, with each group constructing one organ before joining them all together as a complete working digestive system.
Picasso once said, ‘every child is an artist – the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up,’ and teaching students how to take inspiration from others’ work and interpret through their own personal filters is an important step in retaining artistic skills. When learning about the work of classic artists such as Monet and Klimt, discuss the ways in which colours and shapes are used to express emotions and ideas, and encourage children to take this emotive approach to their own work.
The characteristics of the planets are fun to demonstrate practically: try making Russian doll-style models that depict the various layers of each planet, with labels explaining their names and functions. A group task can be made of examining the constellations: dissect a map of the night sky and give each pupil or group a section to replicate with small holes in dark paper. These can then be joined together and stuck over classroom windows to give the illusion of stargazing, all while learning about the patterns of the stars.
The cultures of the world offer a bounty of creative influences which not only educate children on the diversity of the world but also provide plenty of opportunity for artistic interpretation. Most cultures can be distinguished by particular styles and features, which make them well-suited to interpretive reworking. Investigate and discuss the styles and distinguishing features of a particular culture, and set children the task of using these styles to produce their own design. Ask them how they would design a costume that represents that culture, or how they would decorate a room in a similar style.
There are many other ways of combining the benefits of crafting with the existing curriculum, but the essence of what art can bring to the learning process is the most important thing. It is about allowing exploration and interpretation in subjects that otherwise are quite rigid in their structure.
Guest Article By Charlotte Baldwin, Operations Manager at IQ Cards.
IQ Cards are a fundraising company that provide schools and establishments with the necessary tools to fundraise via selling high-quality and unique gifts designed by pupils. As part of the established on-demand print and digital solutions provider, The IQ Digital House ensures that all requirements and products are produced to the highest standards, delivered on time and at great value prices. Several of the IQ cards team are mothers and PTA members themselves appreciating and understanding school protocols extremely well. They are an approved supplier for PTA UK. For more information please visit: http://www.iqcards.co.uk/