Fifth graders recently completed their Maccabee sculptures in time for the Hanukah holiday. This was an intensive unit that began with figure drawing. The students drew from manikins and models to learn how to capture human proportions with the goal of creating a realistic drawing.
I have a kind of mantra for observational drawing that I like to use with students:
"Listen to your eyes, not your brain."
In other words, imagining the figure of a human could result in a stick figure drawing, but this is just a symbol. In order to draw realistically, you need to make observations with your eyes such to measure proportion, angle, and perspective. Students this diagram, in addition to the wooden manikins, as a basis for their drawings.
When they felt confident in their manikin drawing skills, they moved on and created sketches of their Maccabees. They wrote character sketch sheets with details including their Maccabee's name, occupation, and family life. Then, we moved from 2-D to 3-D with a process that included wire armature, plaster wrap, sewing, sculpting and gluing. The heads are made of apples, which the students carve and then let dry. To carry out their sketches to fruition, students used materials from yarn and fabric to tin foil and mesh.
Finally, the students posed their sculptures in a special homemade "Maccabee photo booth," which featured scenes from Assyria. Each sculpture is full of personality and life, and I hope you'll take the time to explore them all.