Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Zebra Project!

A lot of us have been making little herds of zebras. Did you know there are three kinds of zebras? I think it is so amazing that even for something as special as a zebra there are still three different types. We've been working on Georgia Zebras in the first grade this week (Georgia Zebras aren't one of the three types). The project idea came from here and here.

For this post, I thought I'd show how the delivery of the project went for me.

1. I really (REALLY) wanted to this project because I love art and I love animals. But, I wanted to make sure there were super meaningful parts of it for my students. So, the first graders and I learned about thick and thin lines. We looked at pictures of zebras (from my Mom and Dad's recent trip to Kenya) and noticed how they have both thick and thin stripes on their bodies. We also read the book A Zebra's World by Caroline Arnold. We talked about where zebras live and I showed them my large savanna painting and told them this was where we would glue our zebra herd. It was fun to discuss how we were making our own art AND we were combining our art to make one big art piece.

2. Together, we practiced making thick and thin lines using this worksheet I made. We got to use colored markers because color is fun!

3. I handed out the cardboard versions of the zebra body (with head already glued-on) and 2 clothespins to each student. The students were encouraged to play with the pieces to see if they could make it look like a "brown horse." The kids REALLY loved this part. After we figured out how to make our horses, we talked about how we could create different poses by moving the legs different ways (sitting, running, standing). Then we discussed how zebras look different from horses.

4. We painted our posed zebras white! We got to use acrylic paint (for better coverage), so we "smocked up." We talked about how to paint thinly and to keep our zebras from being "goopy."
5. I pre-labeled sheets of paper with 2 students names each before class. I showed the students where the papers were located and told them when they finished painting their zebras to put their zebra next to their name.

6. Then we washed up, cleaned up, and "desmocked." This was the end of class one.

7. Since this was the beginning of class two, I handed out their thick and thin worksheets and we talked about thick and thin lines and how they relate to zebras. I gave everyone black permanent markers and we made thick and thin lines all over our zebra bodies.

8. I handed out scissors and 2 pieces of small black paper. I demonstrated how to cut a small mane and a little tail. I provided school glue so the students could glue these on. . .But, also had a glue gun handy (some of those wee manes needed more glue).

9. We sat in a circle on the floor and played the game: "My favorite zebra." One of my high school students saw day one of this project and invented this game! The game goes like this: Everyone goes around and states their favorite type of zebra. For example: "My favorite zebra likes to ride the ferris wheel at the state fair!" This game is silly and provided a good opportunity for the students to play with their zebras.

10. After our game, we worked together (with Mr. Glue Gun) and found a place in the savanna for our zebras to live.

I'll post our finished zebra herd grazing on the savanna tomorrow!

Ooooohhh this project is SO. MUCH. FUN. Thank you to all of you who have posted and shared it!!!


  1. I love the idea of using zebras to introduce thick and thin lines to kids! Because my curriculum is based on the elements, this will really reinforce these two concepts. I always try to link the elements to science, social studies and art history. Perfect!

  2. Hi Amy - I wish I had seen this when you posted it. I found it just now through Pinterest, 10 months later! You say there were a lot of people making these, can you tell me who else has posted about this project of mine? I'd love to see theirs too.

  3. Anne, The 2 people I was inspired by are http://manualescanigo.blogspot.com/2009/06/el-caballo-de-berta.html and http://useyourcolouredpencils.blogspot.com/2010/08/zebras.html

    I know Mr. E. also did a zebra project. . . as did several other art bloggers. I think you should google art ed bloggers and "zebra." good luck.

  4. Anne! I must've been having a brain toot! I got my original inspiration from YOU! Thank you so much for posting this project. I love your blog.

  5. Hi Amy :)
    Yes it is my project - I had thought you meant there were other bloggers who had tried this same project. I got excited. Anyway - it was nice to find your zebras! Thanks for linking back to me in your post.