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High Heeled Art

Uncover the history behind modern shoes and the similarities between styles of the past and those of today. Students show off their sense of style by designing a shoe with Crayola® Model Magic®!

  • Grade 6
    Grades 7 and 8
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Ask students if they have a favorite pair of shoes? What do they like about them? When are they worn?
    2. Why do people wear shoes? Shoes can be traced back to prehistoric times. Cave paintings show images of shoes in the most basic form, as bags, likely made from fur or animal hide, wrapped around people’s feet. That protective covering provided a shield against sharp rocks, hot sand, and other extreme terrain while hunting and performing daily activities.
    3. As societies evolved, so did the style and functions of shoes. In ancient Egypt, shoes were status symbols. Even the color of shoes could be used to identify one’s class. Ancient Rome also used shoe color to define social lines. Similarly, in ancient Greece, shoes were an indicator of one’s profession. Greeks become highly skilled in shoemaking, and were known for the elaborately woven styles they created. Other countries focused on making shoes more durable and comfortable.
    4. Students make a list of different shoe styles on the board as a class. How many can you think of? How do these styles differ from shoes created by ancient cultures? How are they the same? Students research to find examples of how shoes changed throughout history. What purpose did the styles serve in society during those times? What did they represent about the people wearing them? What do the shoes of today say about our society?
    5. Students become shoemakers. What style of shoe would they create? What would be the function of those shoes? Why would people want to wear them? Students design a shoe using Crayola Model Magic! Use the research as an inspiration for the design. Consider the style, function, and symbolism of the shoe when molding it.
    6. Cover the work area with recycled newspaper. Model Magic that is fresh from the pack will stick to itself. Dried pieces can be glued together. Be creative! Add colors and details to enhance the shoe. Explore swirling, rolling, and twisting the Model Magic for interesting effects! Jewels, buttons, and beads can be added using Crayola No-Run School Glue. Store the completed shoe in a safe area and allow it to dry completely over 1-3 days.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

    LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify claims and findings and emphasize salient points.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Identify and describe ways family, groups, and community influence the individual's daily life and personal choices.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by James Dean; Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by James Dean

    Prior to working on this project, students use a digital camera to photograph a variety of shoes that they have at home or that they have found at a local shoe store, having gained permission from the store owner prior to taking the pictures. Upload photos to a classroom computer and use them as conversation starters about shoes.

    Students create 3-D shoe models from various time periods. Students discuss the evolution of shoe styles. What has changed? What has stayed the same?

    Encourage students to investigate the process of manufacturing shoes.

    Expand the investigation into all of fashion for a given time period. Students work in small groups find examples of fashion trends from different centuries and cultures throughout history. Each group will be challenged to illustrate original clothing designs on models inspired by a specific time period. Use Crayola Classic Colored Pencils and Bold Markers. Cut out drawings to post in a classroom display or scan drawings to a classroom computer and organize them into an electronic presentation.


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