Our first grade theme this year is Art & Nature- How can we find beauty in the everyday? How does recognizing patterns help us learn new things?
Nature is a wonderful source for curiosity and creativity. The first graders observed insects from my collection or from photographs and carefully made contour drawings from their observations.
I read this beautifully illustrated book to the first graders. We learned that Maria Merian was an artist/naturalist who studied plants and insects and made detailed paintings about them. She was particularly interested in metamorphosis and her art helped to dispel the common belief that insects were evil creatures. Maria worked in a scientific field during a time when options for women were very limited. She traveled all over the world to study insects in their natural environment.
Her art has inspired the first graders to make their own carefully detailed drawings of insects- some are based on real insects and some imagined.
The first grade artists painted their contour drawings with metallic watercolors and carefully cut them out. We used small twigs from our school garden to hang these colorful bugs. Each mobile is a wonderful lesson in color, line, and balance. If you visit the art room you can see them on display right now! The bug mobiles gently flit around and are so much fun to look at (and also hard to photograph!).
My own kiddos collect cicada shells for fun so I brought in a box full of cicada shells to share! We had a good time talking about cicadas and many students left the art room with a cicada shell clung to their shoulder. Read more about cicadas here. Check out the sound clip of the cicada song and the time lapse video of a cicada molting!