Elementary Lesson: Animalitos - Source of images unknown (original plan has been lost) Grade levels: Third through fifth
Students are introduced to the culture of Mexico. Examples of fanciful animals are shown via PowerPoint. Mexican paper mache animals as well as wood animals are shown. Demonstrate making armature and paper mache process. Discuss ideas for decoration.
Students will Gain appreciation of the folk arts of Mexico
Develop problem solving skills in designing an animal - and constructing armature
1. Draw animalito design on newsprint - fill the page. Make your
animalito a fantasy animal or simplify an animal from nature. Keep it some
simple basic shapes. Be sure to add wings, ears and horns if desired.
2. Make armature from rolled up newspaper. Begin with main body shape.
Smooth over with a layer of newspaper. Tape in place with masking tape.
Put name on a piece of masking tape and put in a visible place.
3. Add rolled up newspaper for legs and a ball of newspaper for head.
Tape on to body. (Armature took at least one class period - some had time
to start Paper Mache)
4. Tape on cardboard scraps for wings, ears - may make horns and tails
from rolled up aluminum foil. If desired - smooth a layer of aluminum foil
over the armature and tape in place with masking tape (if desired)
5. Tear newspaper into pieces approximated 2" x 2" ( 5 x 5 cm) and
manageable strips. Dip newspaper pieces into wheat paste (or Ross paste) -
Smooth off excess. I used a couple of aluminum pie plates at each table
when I did this. Put one layer of newspaper over entire armature. I had
students put their name on one piece of paper and paper mache it on in a visible
place so I would know whose was whose. We put ours on wax paper to dry.
(first layer took one class period)
6. Put a second layer of paper mache over using brown paper bags
(soaked in water to soften) - or use pieces of brown paper toweling end
rolls. Be sure to keep pieces smooth - no wrinkles. (second layer took at
least one class period)
7. When dry - paint with Acrylic Paint (or tempera). Put a base coat
on areas - may change colors for head - wings - ears - legs. Allow base
coat to dry. (one class period - some were able to start adding designs)
8. Paint on patterns - may accent with paint markers and squeeze
paints. (one last class period - finish stories)
Note: I had students write a story and illustrate it while they were
waiting for paper mache and paint to dry. I had hair dryers for them to
dry paint - but only two so students had to take turns.
Book:Arts and Crafts of Mexico - Combines in-depth text and images into a myriad of indigenous art forms. Among the items covered are textiles from the country's various regions; ceramics, from rough pots to Majolica ware; jewelry, ranging from silver earrings featuring alligators and donkeys, to carved necklaces with colored Beads and metals; toys painted in colors; woven goods such as baskets, mats, and bags.