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  • Writer's pictureRobin Murphy

Elementary Line Sculptures

One of my favorite short projects to do in the first few weeks of school are Line Sculptures. If you haven't seen them before, they look a little bit like this:

I don't remember where I was first inspired to do this project, but I do know the wonderful Cassie Stephens definitely popularized it a couple years ago as a "getting to know you" project for the beginning of the year. If you're interested in that, you can check out her project here!

I typically do this project with 1st grade when we learn about the element of Line, but it's a great activity for any elementary grade if you tailor it correctly to the higher levels. It's a great way to introduce sculpture and 3D art to younger grades, and working in the round and construction techniques to the older ones.

When I do this project, we start by brainstorming on the whiteboard. I ask students what kind of lines they can think of, draw them on the board, and then we practice drawing the lines in the air with our hands or make them by moving our bodies. I usually ask questions like "If I was to draw some mountains, what type of line would I use? If I wanted to draw hair, what types of lines could I use? What types of lines look like the ocean?" to help them start thinking of applications for the types of lines we just came up with.

I then demonstrate how to glue the colorful strips of paper in different ways to create these lines. They also learn how to fold a tab on their paper to give them a nice surface to glue onto the big paper. We talk about overlapping the papers and making some lines go over, under, and through others. I also remind them how important it is to use many different lines to cover the whole paper so that it is interesting to look at from all angles.

My favorite part of this project is how different every single finished piece is. I love watching my students find different ways to fold and twist the paper. Some even call their sculpture a playground and describe to me all of the different playground equipment they've made. I just love how they are so imaginative when given an abstract project to complete!

If you're looking for a short and sweet lesson plan for this project, you can download the pdf below and adapt it to your own needs!

Line sculptures
Download PDF • 249KB

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