Your email*

Middle [6th-8th] Lesson Plan

Ceramic Gargoyles and Grotesques

Created on November 04, 2018 by KatieMorris

Students learn the history of gargoyles and grotesques as an architectural feature and sculpt one out of clay

3 Keeps, 0 Likes, 0 Comments

8 sessions; 45 minutes per session

1. The students will understand the history of gargoyles and grotesques.
2. The students will analyze the design of gargoyles and grotesques and collaboratively make a list of their features.
3. The students will use sketching as part of the design process.
4. The students will utilize a variety of sculpting techniques to construct an original gargoyle or grotesque from clay.
The students will display evidence of good craftsmanship and attention to detail in their sculptures.

Paper and pencils
Low fire white earthenware clay
Clay tools
Black low fire glaze

Need these materials? Visit Blick!

Day 1: Introduction
-show images of gargoyles and gauge students’ prior knowledge
-discuss the practical history of gargoyles as architectural features (worked as water spouts to protect masonry)
-discuss the reasoning behind the design of gargoyles (look scary to ward off demons and remind people of spiritual safety inside the church)
-grotesques look like gargoyles but are just sculptural and don’t direct water
-students brainstorm a list of design features seen in the pictures of gargoyles and grotesques (wings, muscles, claws, horns, teeth, open mouths, big eyes, big ears, etc.). Display list for students to reference.
-students start sketching to design their gargoyles

Day 2: start studio
-teacher demonstrates sculpting by hand, how to make hollow forms, how to make strong attachments.
-students get designs approved and begin to sculpt.

Days 3-6: students sculpt

Day 7: (after 1st fire) glazing
-demonstrate dabbing on black glaze and wiping away with sponge to emphasize texture and give the look of stone
-students glaze

Day 8: (after glaze fire) gallery walk
-look at finished work as a class and discuss strong points of each

My 8th graders loved this project and I think it would also work for high school.


Visual Arts Standard 1:
Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

[5-8] Students intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas

Visual Arts Standard 2:
Using knowledge of structures and functions

[5-8] Students generalize about the effects of visual structures and functions and reflect upon these effects in their own work
[5-8] Students select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of their ideas

Visual Arts Standard 3:
Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas

[5-8] Students integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in their artworks
[5-8] Students use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks

Visual Arts Standard 4:
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures

[5-8] Students analyze, describe, and demonstrate how factors of time and place (such as climate, resources, ideas, and technology) influence visual characteristics that give meaning and value to a work of art

Visual Arts Standard 5:
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

[5-8] Students analyze contemporary and historic meanings in specific artworks through cultural and aesthetic inquiry
[5-8] Students compare multiple purposes for creating works of art

Form, Texture

Architecture, Ceramics, Sculpture

History/Social Studies