Hybrid Animals

Paper Mache

Project Description:

Students will research and explore animals from different areas around the world. They will use their research to plan their own hybrid animal by combining two animals from contrasting regions.

Day 1: 9/14/18

Essential Understanding:

Artists and designers will explore geography by using research to inform their artistic choices.

Artists and designers create art by planning.

Key Concepts:




Inquiry/Learning Target:

Using provided research books, students will be able to discover different geographic locations by researching two different animals around the world.(Comprehend/Transfer)


Making connections


Imagining next steps

Art Focus:

Use research to plan your sculpture by drawing ideas in sketchbook.

Literacy Focus:

Students will use photo images and geography books to gain information about animals that live in specific regions. They can use their sketchbooks to write down/draw notes about their animals. Students will be asked questions about their choices when planning their project.

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Day 2: 09/19/18

Essential Understanding:

Students will create the mold for their paper mach hybrid animal.

Key Concepts:

Paper Mache


Hybrid Animal

Inquiry/Learning Target:

Provided with paper mache materials, students will begin the paper mache process for their hybrid animal that they researched. (Comprehend/Transfer/Create)


Creating an armature

Using their sketches as a guide

Using a partner to create the armature for their hybrid animal

Knowing the paper mache process 

Art Focus:

Use an armature as a support for 3-D sculpture.

Literacy Focus:

Students will understand the term "armature," and know how armatures  are important in 3-D art.

Documentation of Student Learning

Day 2

When asking the class what new word we learned today...

Students exclaimed, "Armature!"

And what does armature mean?

"It's a base, or its like a skeleton for artwork."

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From observing the demonstration on how to form their armatures, students excitedly jumped into action, without hesitation. 
Working in partners allowed them to ask each other questions and gain confidence during their paper mache process.

Students were excited to touch the paper mache glue. They were curious to discover what the texture felt like and how it would transform their armatures.

After students became comfortable with the paper mache, they quickly became confident in the making process.

Working in partners students realized that teamwork was essential.
"We have to work together to hold the paper, so that our partner can tape the ball without it falling apart."

Day 3: 9/28/18

Essential Understanding:

Artist and designers will explore 3-D sculpting by adding features to their mask.

Key Concepts:




Inquiry/Learning Target:

Given newspaper pulp, cardboard, and paper mache, students will be able to form facial features by using references.


Using reference images

Turning a 2-D image into 3-D sculpture


Art Focus:

Art making process: knowing there are many steps to get to the finished product.

Literacy Focus:

Students will discuss their armatures and features with the class in a closing activity.

Day 3 Documentation of Learning

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This image shows how this student was using reference images to inform her artwork. She was using her sketch she drew to know the shape and form of the features she was making. She demonstrated understanding of the importance of using references by replicating the form of the ears. She also knew that she needed to build the nose up to make her mask more realistic.

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This student was excited to get her hands dirty in the newspaper pulp. She showed me how she was sculpting facial features to create her hybrid animal. 

"It's like really squishy clay! I can use it to make my features by adding it and putting it in the shape I want."

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The closing circle showed us a lot about what the students were thinking/feeling and how their projects are going so far. 

We asked our students questions like, "What went well today? What problems did you have and how did you solve them? Who is finished sculpting and who needs more time?"

A student replied, "It was really hard to get my ears to stick to my mask. I had to ask my partner to help me hold them while I taped the ears on."

Another student said, "I think today went very well. I finished my paper mache and my horns look awesome!"

Day 4: 10/5/18

Lesson Description: Students will continue to work on their paper mache hybrids and either start or continue to paint them.

Essential Understandings:

Artists and designers will incorporate 2D design onto their 3D animal hybrids.

Artists and designers will use paint to add features and characteristics to their hybrid animals.

Artists and designers will finish using paper mache if they have not finished already.

Artists and designers will learn about color mixing and color theory. They will then apply this to their hybrid animals.

Key Concepts:

Acrylic paint



Painting etiquette

Color mixing

Acrylic paint

Color Theory


Inquiry/Learning Target: Given acrylic paint and other painting materials, students will be able to paint the features and characteristics of their hybrid animal. If the students have not finished building their animals with paper mache, they will apply what they learned from the previous lessons to finish their paper mache.

Skills: -Adding details and textures by using acrylic paint

-Incorporating 2D design with 3D design

-Using color theory and color mixing to create specific colors.

Art Focus: By adding painting to your hybrid, your animal will have features and characteristics. 

Literacy Focus: Students will discuss and share their feelings towards their paintings and how it differs from before they added paint to their end results.

Day 4 Documentation of Learning

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This image displays a students problem solving while mixing colors. This student was trying to make a brown. He first tried mixing green and and yellow and realized that he was not creating the color he desired. He asked us how to make brown and explained that he frustrated because he thought green and yellow would make brown. I reminded him that complimentary colors mixed together make brown, and asked him which color is complimentary to green? "RED!" Exactly! He added red to the mix and was satisfied with his new brown color.

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Here is a students "Lion-horse" in progress. She explained that she wanted to do the base of the mask first because then she can add the details and features neatly on top. She created the orange colors by mixing red and yellow to her liking. She explained that half of the head (the lighter side) is the lion, and the other half is the horse. She expressed her future plans of adding eyes, a nose, ears, and then a brown mane on the horse side of the face. She demonstrated planning, color mixing skills, and artist intent.

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This is an image of a students "Arctic Fox-Frog."  When he asked me if he was done with his base color, I noticed some remaining white showing through that didn't get covered in green. I asked him if he wanted to cover the remaining white on his mask. He explained, "No, I want it like that because I want some white to show through because I want people to see the arctic fox colors too. That's why I also added white to my green to make it lighter." He showed understanding of color mixing, artistic decision making, and verbal discussion of his work.

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Here is a students completed"Dog-Whale." I asked her do explain her artistic choices. She told me that she sculpted a dog, but painted it with whale colors. She wanted the dog to look silly and fun, so she added a long tongue coming out. Her artwork was a hit to the her classmates during group discussion too. She expressed that she was excited with her mask and couldn't wait to take it home to show her family. This student showed understanding of paper mache making, color mixing, artistic intent, and creativity.

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At the end of the class we had a group circle to discuss our classmates artwork. We started the discussion with the question, "What do you see?"
The kids took turns naming some of their friends artwork. They were very excited to see what each other had created. 
We talked about successes and problem solving. The students were able to verbalize their artistic choices and explain their artistic intent to their classmates. See the video below to hear about a students problem solving.

Day 5: 10/12/18

Lesson Description: Students will finish painting their hybrid animals. If they have already finished, they will paint a picture that tells a story.

Essential Understandings:

Artists and designers will use paint to add characteristics and features to their hybrids.

Artists and designers will create a painting that tells a story.

Artists and designers will use their personal references when creating a narrative.

Artists and designers will apply color theory to create the colors of their choosing. 

Artists and designers will respect the painting materials.

Key Concepts:

Acrylic paint



Color mixing

Color Theory

Painting etiquette


Inquiry Learning Targets:

Given acrylic paint and other painting materials, students will be able to paint the features and characteristics of their hybrid animal. If the students finish their hybrids, they will paint a narrative that tells a personal story.


Color mixing

Adding details and texture with acrylic paint

Personal reference when painting a narrative

Art Focus:

-By adding paint to your hybrid, you can bring your work to life! 

-Art is a way of telling stories.

Literacy Focus:

-Group discussion on classmates artwork and personal artwork

-Writing ideas/sketching (for students working on painting the environment for their hybrid)

Day 5 Documentation of Learning

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Here is an example of how it is so important to plan artwork by sketching. As you can see, this student referenced their sketch while creating this mask. We asked the students if their end results are different from their original sketches and in this case, this student said no.

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This student is transferring her sketch to the watercolor paper. We asked the students to sketch out their plan prior to painting. This student showed us that she is advanced in creative processing. Having an undersketch while painting was not taught for this lesson. 

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This student is utilizing oil pastels to use a technique she just learned called "resistant painting" The students learned that they can use crayons or oil pastels to create resistant paintings. This student is beginning the painting part, which is done after you use oil pastels or crayons.

This student is beginning their watercolor environment painting. This student is developing their background and starting to build up color and features. They show understanding and creativity by explaining to me that one of her animals was nocturnal and the other was diurnal. So she wanted half of the environment to be day time and the other half to be night time.

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These are the students finished hybrids! The students were very proud of their finished results and we had a great reflection. The students got a chance to explain what their hybrid is and they also got a chance to ask their classmates questions about their creative process. Some examples of questions they asked are,


"I like you ears, how did you get them to stand up straight?"

"Why did you add polka dots to your ears?"

"What kind of animal is yours? How did you come up with that?"

Overall, the students had a blast during this project and are excited for the next class!

This student struggled with making the horns to his animal. He eventually learned that he needs to cut down the horns so they are more stable. He was very happy with his end result, in which he had a self learning experience