Clay Dinosaurs: Color

On the final day of pretending to time travel back to the time of the dinosaurs, Merry introduced the students to  color mixing and color theory. Students in this class already had background knowledge of primary colors – red, blue yellow – but secondary colors – green, purple, orange – were still a mystery to some. Merry demonstrated this combination of colors to clear the confusion and then introduced the class to some paintings with all kinds of color combinations.

Merry asks students why colors could be important to works of art and asks students to identify color patterns in three sample works of art.

Merry then asked students to come up to the board one at a time to point out color combinations that they saw within the works of art.

One student points out that one of the artists used secondary colors in their work.

After looking at different artworks and ways in which to combine colors to create things like pattern, rhythm, and texture the students explored color mixing. Each student was given a bag filled with two primary colors for which they were to squish together to make a new color. Students with blue and yellow proclaimed, “I made green!” Other students with the same primary colors in their bags compared the colors they made and found out that different amounts of paint made the same color but it could sometimes be a lighter or darker version. After discovering how colors could be mixed to create new colors, students transferred this knowledge and used it to paint their dinosaurs.

Students squish bags filled with primary colors to practice color mixing.

When presented with their fired clay dinosaurs some students proclaimed, “what happened to their color?” and others asked, “why are they white? They used to be grey.” Merry explained that in the kiln, the clay dries out and the color changes, to which students replied, “coooool!”

One student cut open his bag of mixed green and began piping it onto his dinosaur to create a "ripple effect"

The same student then showed his table mate how to cut the bag so that she could get the same paint effect on her dinosaur.

Another student picked up a toothbrush and experimented with how to create texture in the paint on her dinosaur.

This student decided to experiment mixing colors on her paper plate before painting her dinosaur. She called these colors "tan" and "tan green" and used them to outline her pterodactyl's wings.

This student created a new color called "grimlock's green," and he periodically stood up, walked around, and moved his piece so that he could "make sure that he covered every inch of the dino with color."

This student mixed together all three primary colors to create neutral colors for "camoflauge." His dinosaur uses its camoflauge colors to "hide from cobras and protect its babies."

"This is Abstracto!" the student announced, when asked what he called his dinosaur. "It's abstract because the colors are spotted everywhere, and so I call him Abstracto."

Color mixing proved to be a challenging but fun activity for the class, and it was also very messy. At the end of class everyone pitched in to help with cleanup, and whenever a job was completed students were allowed to sit on the rug to draw pictures with markers.

One student drew a spider web that many students thought was really "awesome." When asked by his peers how he made it, he taught everyone else how to make one, too.

Just like the great meteor and the ice age marked the end for the dinosaurs in real life, painting marked the end for the students’ clay dinosaurs, but stay tuned next time for another new and exciting time travel adventure.

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