Student Teacher Blog

5th Grade Artificial Reefs

posted on November 6, 2017 in Fall 2017, Student Teacher Blog

Day 1: Fish Self-Portraits

The fifth grade class learned about the Great Barrier Reefs and about all the life that live as well as depend on the Great Barrier Reef for survival. The students learned that over 100 different species of fish live in the Great Barrier Reef and that it is the size of Japan, or Italy. The students then started sketching themselves as the sea life that lives in the Great Barrier Reef. We called them our Fish Self-Portraits. The students were challenged to create themselves and represent themselves in their sea creatures somehow.


Day 2: Coral Bleaching

The following day the students looked at the artist Guy Harvey who paints fish. The students looked at the details and color of some of his paints and compared his work to their own. The students then learned about how coral bleaching is destroying the coral reefs were sea life live. The students learned about the causes and effects of coral bleaching. The students realized that if the coral dies the fish and sea life will have no where to live, which in turns kills of them, which causes us the humans to run low on food. The students then took their fish self-portraits and cut them out. They then each got a 3×4 inch piece of cardboard to paint. The students painted either very vivid colors to represent the coral on the reefs, or the sea.


Day 3: Artificial Reefs

The students learned about the artist Jason deCaires Taylor. The students learned that Taylor creates sculptures out of clay and then without decorating them, he drops them into the ocean. This confused the students until they saw the results of Taylor’s actions. In pictures the students saw that coral started to grow on his sculptures and fish started to live with the sculptures. The students learned that what Taylor did was create an artificial reef. The student then took their painted 3×4 inch pieces of cardboard and learned basic paper techniques like tabbing and making fringe to add coral to their artificial reef. The students also attached their fish self-portraits to their artificial reef.


Day 4: Collaborate

The students learned about collaboration and were given the challenge of taking each table’s artificial reef and combining them together at each table to create another group artificial reef. The students were given tape and pieces of cardboard. They learned basic cardboard techniques such as making slots and how to easily roll cardboard. They were to use their colorful artificial reefs as decoration to mimic Jason Taylor’s sculptures.


Day 5: Critique

The last day was a critique day. The students learned about what a critique was as well as how a critique functions. The students practiced and then did a critique in a music chairs fashion, but with tables instead. Each table had a piece of paper and a title written on the top with two sentences about their artwork for an artist statement. The students found this to be very enjoyable.


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