Thursday, January 29, 2015

Egyptian Portrait Batiks

Third Grade Art Lesson
3 Class Periods

Egyptian Portrait Batiks, Third Grade Art Lesson
Day 1 
1.  Students learn about Egyptian culture through classroom books I have on the topic and a brief PowerPoint.
Some Ancient Egyptian Facts to Share with Your Students
*  A Pharaoh is the title given to the rulers of Ancient Egypt.
*  Ancient Egyptian pyramids were built as tombs for pharaohs.
*  Cats are considered sacred animals and are believed to bring good luck.
*  Ancient  Egypt is one of the greatest and most powerful civilizations in the history of the world.
*  Much of the success for this civilization is directly linked to the Nile River.  It provided Egyptians with food, soil, water and transportation.
*  Both Egyptian men and women wore make up.  The eye paint was usually green (made from copper) or black (made from lead).
*  Make up provided protection from the sun's powerful rays.
*  Ancient Egyptians loved to play board games.
*  Ancient Egyptians invented lots of things we still use today (paper, pens, locks, keys and toothpaste).

2.  Together as a class, students complete a follow along drawing of an Egyptian on a piece of brown craft paper.  Students are given choices during instruction.  What direction do you want your portrait to face?  Who will your Egyptian portrait represent?  A Pharaoh?  A Queen?  A Worker?  We discuss how an Egyptian portrait is always in profile view.

Day 2
1.  On the second day, students viewed part of a YouTube clip that described the reasons why ancient Egyptian portraits all seem so similar and yet odd in their proportions.

2.  After viewing the clip, students used an assortment of crayons to color in their portraits.  Backgrounds were to be left alone and students were encourage to press hard with their crayons.  The crayon wax is very important for this lesson.

Day 3
1. This day of class is a little scary for students.  We sit in a circle with our artwork.  I explain to them about the process of Batik (the technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to a piece of cloth).  I informed students that we want our paper to have the feel of cloth.  I demonstrate how we will accomplish this by crumpling up our paper.  The shock on their face during this process is quite amusing.  After they earn my trust that I am not playing a trick on them they begin to crumple and un-crumple their work, repeating this step 5 to 6 times.  Students are reminded to be careful in the un-crumpling process, but not to fret if they end up with tears in their work.  I reassure them it will just add to the ancient look of their piece.

2.  Students next take a black oil pastel and outline their portrait.

3.  Black tempera paint is painted over the entire piece.
Student painting pieces.
4.  After the piece dries, students used a Egyptian Alphabet stamp set I acquired through our school library The Metropolitan Museum of Art Fun with Hieroglyphs by Catharine Roehrig to write their name.  We drew a box around the name to represent a cartouche (a double loop of rope tied at one end, the pharaoh's name was written inside of a cartouche).

I am always so impressed with the results to the lesson.  I hope you are, too.

Examples of Student Art:

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