STEAM Art Project

Student balancing a circus performer on a pencil. Get the Free PDF download form Pop Up Art School.

Balancing Circus Performers can be used in a variety of settings and as a complement to lessons in art and science. Use them in your classroom or library to spark discussions about balance, bilateral symmetry and center of gravity.

Start by balancing a completed performer on your finger. Have the kids guess how it’s able to balance and sway on your finger without falling off. You can let one or two kids touch it gently so they can feel the weight of the pennies hidden inside.

Here’s how to make one::

  • Cut carefully around both copies of the performer.
  • Color both sides with markers.
  • Lay one figure face down. Tape a penny onto each hand.
  • Put the second cut out figure on top, so the pennies are hidden.
  • Tape around the sandwiched copies so you don’t have any buckling or big gaps.
  • Test how well your figure balances.

Our favorite part of this project, is when the kids figure out they can balance it on the tip of their nose. Before you know it all of them will have a balancing circus performer on their noses!

Five Dollar Challenge

Here’s the story of a Valentine’s Day project that didn’t quite come together in the end. The creative process isn’t a straight path that always leads to beautiful results. Keep that in mind as I walk you through my attempt.

I challenged myself to come up with a project for a class of 25 students with only $5. Dollar store–here I come! I wanted to make something that’s not too crafty, so that I could touch on the standards that art teachers need to cover. Nothing says crafty like heart doilies, but I bought them anyway along with black paint and red paint and some florist foam.

I’ve been wanting to experiment with florist foam for awhile. I thought it could work well for printmaking. The store had big blocks of foam so I cut them into 25 pieces with a bread knife. First, I drew designs in the foam with a pencil but it didn’t print well.Then I tried pressing into the foam with the eraser end of the pencil. I painted the foam and used it as a printing block.The result is a polka dot pattern. I liked the results and I figured out how to do printmaking with florist foam! It also touches on a few art teaching standards: printmaking, patterns, positive & negative. Success… but wait, what to do with the heart doily?

First, I drew on it with crayons and painted over it with watered down red paint, But I didn’t like the results. However, it made a nice negative image of the doily on the paper I put behind it to protect the table. Maybe I can do something with that? …Nope! I tried but it just didn’t come together. That gave me the idea to paint and cut out a red heart to put behind the doily for a pop of color. I wrote I ❤ U using two fingerprints to make the heart.

Overall … eh. I’m happy with the printmaking results, but the doily part needs more work.

Stay tuned, the next blog post will show how I resolved the project.

Sketch Artist Game

Sketch Blog

It’s a teacher’s worst nightmare; the early finisher. You need to give them something to do and you need something fast. Sketch Artist to the rescue! Everything you need for this game fits in a manila envelope, so it’s easy to take it along to workshops. This game has never failed us and we’ve used it with children as young as 6 and as old as 18.

Here’s how it works:

2-3 people play the game, one person is the “witness” and the others are the Sketch Artist(s). The witness has an envelope with a picture of a “suspect”. Without revealing the picture the witness must describe the suspect in great detail. The sketch artist draws what the witness describes. Once the “witness” thinks the drawing is finished they show the photo and everyone sees if it is close. After that they can switch roles and get another envelope.

Something about the game allows the players not to get too hung up on how “good” their drawing is. Because let’s face it, it’s hard to draw someone from a verbal description. Everyone shares a little giggle when the picture of the suspect is revealed. The game teaches observational and verbal skills for the witness, listening and drawing skills for the sketch artist.