Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Grade Three: Hybrid Mythical Creatures

Third graders were first shown a slide of the Assyrian sculpture pictured above, and asked to look at it carefully. After a few moments, students were asked to identify the different animals comprising the creature depicted. Students were quick to notice there is a lion body, eagle wings and a human head. This combination of animals can only be the famous, mythical sphinx! Many students are familiar with the sphinx, and were led through a discussion of its history within several ancient civilizations. Students were also led to notice that unlike lions, this sphinx has five legs instead of the physiological four. This is because, depending on where the viewer stands in relation to the sculpture, either from the side or from the front, the sculpture will appear to have not only the correct number of legs, but also appear to be walking from profile view.

Students were then shown examples of ancient sculptures of the Sphinx from Egypt and Greece, and compared the similarities and differences in how other cultures have depicted this creature. Contemporary illustrator's renderings of other famous mythical creatures were also shown, including: the Chimera, the Minotaur and the Pegasus. These creatures have famous stories told about them and continue to fascinate people. Students were then instructed to sketch an idea of a hybrid animal of their own design. Later, using their sketches as a reference point, students were instructed in carving their creatures from a block of clay using the subtractive method of hand-building as a starting point. Pieces were later kiln-fired and painted with watercolors.