Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Igloo Landscape With Northern Lights

I'm really excited about this project! I did this project as part of a special winter-themed afternoon with the Kindergardeners at Clark School this week. Previous visits have used cut paper and printmaking and they've learned all sorts of great skills and art techniques. This little lesson uses something every teacher on hand: bulletin board borders to give that wavy look in the sky. I bought mine at the dollar store (a package of 14 for $1).

The art concepts that the children learn with this project are the parts of a landscape (foreground, background, ground, sky), as well as collage, cutting with scissors & working on a multi-step, multi-layered project. The children can rip the paper for the ground and use geometric shapes (squares and rectangles) to create the semicircular igloo. They create their own shape for the moon--that can vary quite a bit and they are all darling. Pastels can be messy, and this project uses that to its advantage! The pastels are perfect for the bright colors and streakiness of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights.

There are also great literature, music, science and cultural links to this project as well: the Northern Lights are part of the rich spiritual culture of the Inuit people (indigenous people of the arctic), as are igloos. The Inuit people live in stick framed houses now, but there are still times when igloos are used as shelter today. Igloos are temporary shelters that can be erected in as little as two hours! WOW!

There are many tales associated with the Northern Lights. I found a great book called The Fiddler of The Northern Lights by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock about the Northern Lights, that is a bit of a different tale. In the book, there is a man from Cape Breton who plays the fiddle and his music makes the Northern Lights dance. I was fortunate to find that my library had two CDs of fiddle music from Cape Breton--so I could share this great music with my students!

I hope you enjoy this lovely little lesson!

Igloo Landscape With Northern Lights

Supplies Needed:
  • 12" x 18" piece of black construction paper
  • 1 bulletin board border from the dollar store (or you can cut a wavy template from poster board)
  • Masking tape and clear cello tape
  • Chalk pastels
  • Tissues
  • Elmer's glue (or other white PVC glue)
  • White construction paper (some ripped into strips, some cut into 1" squares)
  • Semi-circle to trace for igloo shape
  • Pencil
  • Scrap of yellow construction paper (for moon and window)
  • Scissors

1. Tape the border to the table: tape it on either end with a piece of clear tape so that it is nice and secure, but your sheet of black paper can slide under it.

2. Slide the black paper under the border. Use the pastels to color on the paper along the top edge of the border. It's OK if you get the pastels on the border and on the black paper at the same time. Just keep the black paper still while you are doing it. Once you've traced along the entire edge of the border piece, take a tissue and gently rub upward (away from the border), along the entire edge of the border. This will give you the lovely, streaky look of the Northern Lights. Don't scrub with the tissue--that won't give you the same effect. Repeat this 2 or 3 more times on the page.

3. When you are done your sky, move over to the collage table. Apply a thin line of glue along the bottom edge of the black paper. Attach strips of white paper along the bottom to make the snowy ground. Ripping the strips of paper gives a nice effect.

4. Trace a semicircle onto the background with the pencil--make sure you are having the igloo rest ON the ground--not float in the air! We used paper plates cut in half as our templates. Apply some glue to the inside of the semicircle area you've traced on the paper. Use the white 1" squares of paper to fill in the semicircle for the igloo.

5. When your igloo is done, cut a 1" square of yellow for the window of the igloo and attach.

6. Cut a moon shape from the yellow construction paper and glue in the sky area.

What a serene landscape! Enjoy the view!

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