Coat of Arms
My 7th graders are currently learning about the Middle Ages, and one of my favorite things to do is work with my fellow teachers and collaborate on lesson plans. Which, in this case, lead to a Coat of Arms art project.
Before introducing the kids to the lesson at all, I had them start class by making a list of their interests, their family's traditions, family values and their heritage. Once they made their lists, I started my lesson with an introductory PowerPoint about the history, significance and various parts of a Coat of Arms. We had already talked about symbolism in our first day hand activity, so when I asked them to refer back to their lists, they knew exactly where we were heading. I still couldn't help myself, and we did discuss symbolism a little bit further in terms of what colors can represent, how animals can be symbols and elaborated on what we already knew.
The students set to work at designing a unique Coat of Arms for their family. While many of them were eager to share their actual family Coat of Arms, I just encouraged them incorporate parts of those into their artwork instead of trying to replicate it. Once we had sketched out our ideas, we discussed our options for making our final version.
I gave my students three choices. They could either draw their Coat of Arms, paint it (on canvas, decorative paper or regular paper) or turn it into a metal relief. Most of the students chose to draw their Coat of Arms but it was fun to see which students gravitated towards which materials, especially since I am still getting to know this group of kids. I gave the students the various requirements for each medium and demonstrated the proper techniques. I think the metal relief was the trickiest because they struggled with getting the hang of raising certain areas as opposed to just tracing their pencil lines over it and leaving it as is. So we really had to talk about using texture and a combination of thin/thick lines to make our images really stand out on the metal. Regardless of which medium they chose, I loved the different ideas they all had!