5th Grade: Styrofoam Sculptures

The Fifth Grade class has been working diligently on a set of sculptures inspired by the Shaw Memorial. The sculptures are made of Styrofoam, so they give just enough resistance to make for a good challenge. We started by sketching a horse out on the Styrofoam block, and then I offered the students a variety of tools for carving their art. The idea is to carve an outline to the section you want to remove with your tool and then pop the piece out with your hands. It was very loud, but also quite effective. I did my example with a spoon, so I let them try that method first. They also tried using Popsicle sticks and set of actual carving tools. Each student had their own preference, but in the long run we all reached the same conclusion: it’s a cool process but it’s a lot of work and a lot of mess. Despite the negatives, I still had a couple of students asking where to find Styrofoam blocks so they could do more at home. The finished horses were then painted in bronze paint to help set the pieces of Styrofoam that kept flaking off, and also to give it a more finished sculptural appearance.

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