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Elementary [1st-5th] Lesson Plan

Ceramic Tide Pools

Created on February 03, 2019 by KatieMorris

Students learn about the wildlife in tide pools and create ceramic tide pools using pinch pot and sculpting techniques finished with melted glass.

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2 sessions; 45 minutes per session

1. SWBAT explain what a tide pool is.
2. SWBAT create a ceramic pinch pot.
3. SWBAT sculpt miniature marine life.
4. SWBAT create a variety of textures in clay.
5. SWBAT understand the ceramic process from plastic clay to finished glazed pieces.

1. Lowfire clay, about 1/2 lb per student (we used red earthenware but white would be fine)
2. Clay tools
3. Toothbrushes and water
4. Underglaze (can substitute colored low fire glazes)
5. Lowfire glaze- black or dark brown, clear
6. Glaze brushes
7. Clear and or blue “dragon tears”, glass marbles, or stained glass scraps

Need these materials? Visit Blick!

1. Introduction
-discuss tide pools. Do any students know what they are? Explain and show pictures, pointing out the variety of plants and animals found in them.
-explain that we’ll be creating ceramic tide pools
2. Demonstration & sculpting wet clay
-put 1/4-1/3 of clay aside for sculpting
-form larger piece of clay into pinch pot with a flat bottom
-keep outer texture rough to resemble rocks
-form parts of smaller piece of clay into marine life like star fish, sea urchins, barnacles, anemones, octopus, crabs, small fish, etc. and plants like seaweed
-dip old toothbrush in water and rough up surfaces to attach (easiest way to score and slip)
-either paint underglaze on unfirwd clay or fire then glaze
3. Finishing clay
-apply dark brown or black glaze to outer “rock” portion of pinch pot by dabbing on and wiping off so that it stays in crevices but is mostly removed from smooth surfaces. This will emphasize the texture to create a rock effect.
-students choose glaze colors to paint on marine life or dab clear glaze on anything that will stick above the surface of the water
-fill in tide pools with glass before firing, which will melt in the kiln.

Meeting glass in ceramics is definitely not food safe. It can occasionally cause cycles to form at the surface. Programming your kiln to hold for 10 minutes or so at temperature can give the bubbles time to level off. Inspect projects as they come out of the kiln and file down any remaining surface bubbles so there are no sharp edges.

I did this project with 2nd grade and they did ok but it would probably turn out even better with older students.


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

[K-4] Students use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories
[K-4] Students use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner
[K-4] Students know the differences between materials, techniques, and processes
[K-4] Students describe how different materials, techniques, and processes cause different responses

Visual Arts Standard 2:
Using knowledge of structures and functions

[K-4] Students use visual structures and functions of art to communicate ideas

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

[K-4] Students understand there are various purposes for creating works of visual art

Visual Arts Standard 6:
Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines

[K-4] Students identify connections between the visual arts and other disciplines in the curriculum

Form, Texture