Always looking out for project ideas to put an exciting new spin on art concepts, I saw this project at a neighboring district last year and had to try it.
Be warned: this is more difficult than it looks. However, it all turned out well in the end. The 1st grade students are very excited to share their Primary Color Pillar at Youth Art Month. The teamwork it takes for our "people" to hold up the tower is symbolic of the teamwork it took for the first graders to contribute to its construction!
Day One: students rolled, scrunched, and taped bits of newspaper to create an armature for their sculptures.
Day Two: students dipped pieces of paper toweling into paper mache and smoothed them to the surface of their armatures.
Day Three: each class was divided into thirds, each third representing one primary color with which to paint their sculpture. We used liquid tempera paint. Some of the crevices and uneven surfaces were difficult to cover, so we compared the white empty spots to "cavities" and wiggled our paint brushes like tooth brushes to fill them in.This was probably the messiest art project I have ever attempted in my career as an art teacher. To any who may attempt this project with first graders: if you can afford the time, have your students paint half their sculptures at a time over a period of two classes. If you do it all at once: have a mop, towels, and a good sense of humor on standby!
Note: I used hot glue to attach the figures together. I was very impressed by the paper mache skills of my first graders, but did not test their skill level with hot glue guns!