Most art teachers use glue sticks in Kindergarten because the students’ fine motor skills aren’t tuned enough to handle squeezing a bottle of white glue yet. In first grade, projects can be introduced to help learn this skill. Making a skeleton from Styrofoam is one of those projects. It can be combined with celebrations of Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, or lessons about the human body.
To make this project you will need:
- black construction paper
- cotton swabs (4 per student)
- white paper milk straws cut into half-inch lengths (2 per student)
- white glue
- Styrofoam packing peanuts that are shaped like an E (4 per student)
- permanent fine tip black marker
Demonstrate how to open and close a bottle of glue. Show how to squeeze out a line of glue. Show how too much glue can be sucked back into the bottle by keeping the tip in the glue and easing up the pressure on the bottle so that the bottle expands.
Apply dots of glue on the three ridges of a Styrofoam piece, and glue it to the top of the paper for the head. Apply glue to the short piece of straw, and glue it under this piece to make the neck. Apply glue to the flat side of two Styrofoam pieces, and glue these, ridge side up, to make the rib cage. Apply glue to another short section of straw, and glue it under the ribs for the spine. Apply glue to the flat side of another Styrofoam piece, and glue it below the straw to make the hips. Apply glue to the cotton ends of the swabs, and make arms and legs.
If you don’t have cotton swabs, you can substitute three-inch pieces of milk straws. If the straws have bending ridges, use the bend for the elbow or knee.
Explain that permanent means forever, and that permanent markers will stain their clothes. Draw a face on the top Styrofoam piece with a fine tip marker. The face will have two circles for eyes, a triangle for a nose, and a straight line for the mouth.
If this is a Halloween decoration, and if there is still time left in the class period, other graveyard items such as tombstones, pumpkins, moon or bats can be added to the picture by using pre-cut shapes, or by drawing the items with oil pastels.
Sunshine State Standards
BA.A.1.1.2 uses art materials and tools to develop basic processes and motor skills, in a safe and responsible manner.
- The student followed instructions about the placement of objects on the page.
- The student used glue in a neat and responsible manner.
- The student used a permanent marker in a safe and responsible manner.
- The student demonstrated an understanding of how the glue bottle cap works by opening and closing the bottle.
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