Thursday, June 7, 2018

Crafty Book Review: Drawing Wild Animals, and 8 More Art Activities for Biology

I've mentioned off and on for years now how much the kids enjoy how-to-draw books. Every now and then I'll check out a pile of them from the library, and every now and then a publicist will send us a free one to play with.

Our most recent review copy is Drawing Wild Animals, which is coming in super useful for our Honors Biology study. The animals are categorized by class, with examples of mammals, amphibians, and reptiles represented. Some of the animals that the book shows you how to draw, such as the frog, toad, and salamander, are animals that the kids can practice from the book, then draw again as we do nature studies. We can do the same drawing practice, but then visit the zoo to study and draw animals like the tiger, giraffe, rhinoceros, zebra, elephant, lemur, and rattlesnake.

And, of course, some of the animals we can just draw for fun! Here are some sketches that Will made from the book the other day:

Will doesn't consider herself to be a competent artist, which means that she's often reluctant to do art. I'm always thrilled, then, when a resource is so deliciously tempting that even she will happily partake! And, of course, it helps when it's user-friendly enough that she's pleased with what she creates--that's positive reinforcement for practicing art!

Syd does consider herself to be an artist--and oh, she's a wonderful, gifted artist, indeed. Here's what she drew:



I think the detailing on the antlers, and the hair on the... hare... are new techniques that she picked up from the book. Super useful to be able to draw antlers and bunny fur!

Syd has sometimes been less engaged in our extensive biology studies this past year, so I'm contemplating deliberately incorporating more art into our biology. Syd always likes to do art! Here are some of the ideas that I've been researching:
  1. I love these free, downloadable artist's study lessons. The first grade packet includes a close reading and extension activities for The Peaceable Kingdom; the second grade packet includes Tiger in a Tropical Storm; and fourth grade has an Audubon plate and The Horse Fair.
  2. The Endangered Species Art Contest takes place every year!
  3. There's also a National Fossil Day art contest!
  4. A magazine collage would be fun for younger kids to create.
  5. Look how beautiful these feather prints are!
  6. You can make a life cycle story board for for every unique life cycle that you study.
  7. This photo tutorial is for a papier mache dinosaur, but papier mache would work for any whole-body animal study, or even as a project on cells or organ systems.
  8. The Children's Museum of Indianapolis has an entire curriculum about paleo art. It's young for my two, but easily adaptable.
I feel like I'm on the right track with this, but I don't think I've yet hit on anything that would be a meaningful contribution to our study and would fill Syd with excitement. Let me know if you've got other suggestions for me!

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