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Abstract Animals

Capture animals in abstract drawings, finding the geometric shapes that make up animal faces and bodies.

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Share a variety of photographs of animals with students. Ask children to identify any geometric shapes that can be seen in the images, such as circles, triangles, etc. If small white boards are available, ask students to use Crayola Dry Erase Markers to draw and name the shape(s) they are seeing. Discuss the attributes of each shape, such as a triangle has three sides and three points.
    2. Challenge students to compare and contrast the animal forms photographed Which have triangles? Which have circular shapes? Provide tracing paper for students to place over a large, side view of an animal. Students trace all shapes found.
    3. Using Crayola Fine-Line Markers on construction paper, students combine geometric shapes to create an animal they are familiar with such as a puppy, cat, or elephant. Encourage children to use a variety of shapes they are familiar with.
    4. Once geometric animal sketches are complete, students may use Crayola Colored Drawing Chalk to color their animals. They may also choose to tear the edges of their construction paper so it looks like a deckle edge.
    5. Encourage students to use simple geometric shapes to create a background habitat for their animals. Students should work at authenticity. For example, elephants should be in jungle habitats.
    6. Display student work. Provide class time for students to talk about the various animals pictured by classmates.
  • Standards

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small or larger groups.

    LA: With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed.

    LA: Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.

    LA: Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

    MATH: Recognize and draw shapes having specified attributes.

    MATH: Understand that shapes in different categories may share attributes, and that the shared attributes can define a larger category.

    SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.

    VA: Use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals by Ed Emberley; Shall we play with Shapes? - A Silly Rhyming Picture book for children about Shapes and Colors by Sujatha Lalqudi; Perfect Square by Michael Hall

    Students write poems about their Abstract Animals that illustrate a scene where the animal is included. Poetry style can be connected to grade level LA curriculum selection that students have already been exposed to in this school year or a review of a poetry style from a previous year's LA curriculum. Poems can be posted with the Abstract Animals exhibited in the classroom and/or presented in electronic format and when to a classroom electronic file.

    Use the geometry shapes study to investigate shapes in human forms. Students may combine the human form with their Abstract Animal to write a poem about interactions between the two. Students can present their poems and artwork to small groups or whole class. Presentations can be audio recorded and linked to an uploaded picture of students' Abstract Animals in a classroom electronic file.

    Using recycled cardboard pieces, students draw and cut out a variety of geometric shapes such as circles, squares, rectangles, rhombuses, etc. Students use their shapes to create an abstract animal. After naming their animals, students join with other classmates to put the original animals in a fictitious zoo and compose a short story about the animals playing together.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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