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Multiple Level Lesson Plan

Clay Whistles

Created on January 29, 2020 by Catriplett1

Students will create a working whistle out of clay. Once the students understand how to build a simple whistle they can modify the shape and size to create whatever form they would like.

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4 sessions; 45 minutes per session

1. SWBAT define the 3 methods for hand building clay (Pinch, Slab, and coil).

2 SWBAT define the 3 methods for attaching clay (Score, Slip, Blend).

3. Create 2 unique, working clay whistles. (One simple, one a little more advanced).

1. Earthenware clay (roughly 2 tennis ball sized lumps of clay per student.)

2. Popsicle Sticks (1 for each student).

3. Clay tools.

4. Acrylic paints and food grade sealant or food grade glazes.

5. Aprons.

6. Plastic bags for wrapping clay and projects in.

Need these materials? Visit Blick!

1. Teacher will teach and demonstrate the 3 hand building methods of clay (Pinch, Slab, and Coil). (15 min)

2. Teacher will teach and demonstrate the 3 methods for attaching clay (Score, Slip, and Blend). (15 mins)

3. Teacher will allow students to practice each of the methods above (15 minutes).

End of session 1

A: Teacher will walk through each of the following steps with the students (30-45 mins) (Hand out visual instructions to students who want them)

1. Roll a ball of clay about the size of a golf ball, or how ever big you want your whistle. Form ball into a pinch pot (keeping walls 1/4 -1/2 inch thick).

2. Roll out a slab of clay. trace the opening of the pinch pot onto the slab of clay and cut out this shape.

3. Score, slip, and blend the slab and the pinch pot together. This should form something that looks like a turtle shell.

4. Form and connect a rectangular piece of clay (3/4" x 3/4" x 1 "). This will be the mouth piece (refer to drawn instructions). You should now have an igloo form. Turn the igloo shape upside down so the slab is on top.

5. Push a popsicle stick through the mouth piece and into the hollow cavity. Push the popsicle stick up until you feel it rest on the slab. Remove the stick.

6. Refer to image 9 in drawings - push the popsicle stick through the top slab (this new hole should connect at the same point where the last hole ended in the mouth piece. The stick should butt up against the wall of the pinch pot.

7. Wiggle the stick back and forth until the opening is about 1/4 of an inch). Remove stick.

8. Push the stick through the mouth piece opening again (drawing 11). Using needle tool, pierce and cut the opening (the side furthest away from the mouth piece).This cut should be at a 45 degree angle. Try not to make the opening int the slab much bigger than 1/4"

9. Flip your form back over so it is in the igloo positing. Try to blow air through the mouth piece. If it does not make a whistling sound you will need to trouble shoot to resolve the issue (see drawing under the troubleshooting title).

10. Once you get the whistles to work each student can carve a design into their whistle (not too deep).

End of session 2.

Session 3 and 4 - Student construct their own whistles. (45 minutes for each session).

Student will work independently to construct 2 whistles (one each day). One whistle can be simple with a carved design, the other must be different - in the shape of an animal or with additional holes to create different notes, etc.

Glaze or paint your whistles once fired.

Here is a video that explains the clay whistle process and some troubleshooting tips

A great problem solving unit.


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

[K-4] Students use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner
[K-4] Students use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories
[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
[5-8] Students select media, techniques, and processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of their choices

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

[5-8] Students use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks
[9-12 Proficient] Students apply subjects, symbols, and ideas in their artworks and use the skills gained to solve problems in daily life

Variety, Texture, Rhythm/Pattern, Form, Emphasis, Balance

Mixed Media, Ceramics, Acrylic, Sculpture