Birds of a Feather

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Birds of a Feather 

By Mary Erickson, Ph.D. with fine arts art coordinator, Pat Burdette and fourth grade teacher, Lindsey Anderson. 

Birds of a Feather is a unit plan designed in conjunction with the Birds of a Feather exhibition at the Gallery at Tempe Center for the Arts. 

Birds of a Feather Exhibition Preview PowerPoint 


Themes

THEME IN LIFE: All around the world and in our own backyards, we share our living space with birds.

THEME IN ART: Artists are inspired by their avian neighbors, from majestic eagles to comical penguins, from circling vultures to hovering hummingbirds. 

Key Questions

Lessons approach the themes through two/three key questions. 

Jack_Seek
1. SEEK: How can I relate scientific research to art making?

Questor_Look

2. LOOK: How are shapes and colors organized into patterns?

3. LOOK: How do negative spaces complement positive shapes in artworks?

 

Jack_Choose
4. CHOOSE: How can I enhance my artwork with patterns?

5. CHOOSE: How can I organize positive shapes and negative spaces to complement each other in my art? 

 

 

Community Connections

Arizona's official state bird is the cactus wren. The state has a marvelous variety of birds in its high and low desert regions. Birds hold special places in many of Arizona's native cultures, as represented, for example, by eagle dancers, owl Katsinas, and mythical thunderbirds. Arizona's birds range from soaring condors, with their nearly 10-foot wingspan, to many species of tiny hummingbirds. National, state and city parks, botanical gardens, and riparian preserves are fantastic places to look for birds, and we can also find them in our own backyards.

Lesson One
Lesson One: Flight Patterns

Resources
Birds of a Feather Exhibition Preview PowerPoint
Flight Patterns PowerPoint
Bird Research (pdf)
Sample down, contour, and flight feathers, if available
OPTIONAL: Patterns within Patterns PowerPoint (from Twenty Questions unit)


Lesson Two
Lesson Two: Art in the Wild

Resources
Questor Questions about Art in the Wild pdf
Birds of a Feather Exhibition Preview PowerPoint 

Lesson Three
Lesson Three: Backyard Birds

Resources and supplies

Backyard Birds Powerpoint
Computer lab/library
Copies of Bird Research worksheet (pdf)
Colored pencils and drawing paper
Pencils for incising
Found objects for stamping
Clay
Tin cans or bowls for pressing circles into slab before students start working with clay
Colored under glaze, black over glaze and clear glaze
Large and smaller brushes for glazing
Kiln


Lesson Four
Lesson Four: A Bird in Space
Resources

A Bird in Space PowerPoint 
Computer lab/library
Pencils and sketch paper
Selected drawing and/or painting supplies 

Alternative Lesson Resources:

St. Thomas School Field Guide Bird Drawings (ppt)
Field Guide Bird Drawing Abbreviated Lesson (pdf) 

Supplies

ELEMENTARY 
Computer lab/library
Copies of Bird Research worksheet (pdf) 
Colored pencils and drawing paper
Pencils for incising 
Found objects for stamping
Clay
Tin cans or bowls for pressing circles into slab before students start working with clay
Colored under glaze, black over glaze and clear glaze
Large and smaller brushes for glazing
Kiln

HIGH SCHOOL
Computer lab/library
Pencils and sketch paper
Selected drawing and or painting supplies

Credits

Lindsey Anderson's fourth graders at Rover Elementary School, Tempe, AZ
Pat Burdette, Fine Arts Coordinator, Tempe District
Linda Crain
Arizona Bird Store
Hannah Salia, St. Thomas Academy, Medina, WA

Estimated Time

Pre-visit Lesson = 30 minutes
TCA Visit Lesson = Field Trip
Elementary Post-visit Lesson = 205 minutes 
Bird Research = 45-60 minutes
Paragraph Writing = 45 minutes
Bird drawing  = 25 minutes
Tile Making = 45 minutes (30 minutes prior for clay preparation)
Glazing = two-15-minute sessions
Presentation = 15 minutes
High School Post-visit Lesson = 200-300 minutes

 

APS web logo                         Special  thanks to APS for sponsoring TCA Gallery educational programs.

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