Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blast off! Space Shuttle Art Project

"Wow! America!" by Robert Neubecker is one of my favorite resources for art lessons. I love his dynamic illustrations. This picture book inspired this Space Shuttle lesson.

What you'll need:
12" x 18" orange, blue, black or yellow construction paper
12" x 18" white drawing paper
Black, light blue, dark blue, gray, orange, white and yellow tempera paint.
Glue and scissors

Step One: Drawing the Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle is fun to draw. Watch all the boy's faces as they walk into the art room and glance upon the white board. You'll have a receptive audience very quickly with this project!

I like to put a few samples on the board. One drawing of the space shuttle by itself, one of the painted background and one finished project. I typically don't put a finished project on the board, feeling that it intimidates and affluences their art choices, but in this case I wanted to show how the project was two parts, not just one.

To draw the Shuttle (here is a good reference drawing) start with the white paper and a pencil. Put an outstretched hand on the top half on the paper (little finger touching the top edge). Where the thumb is, draw a dot. This will be the tip of the shuttle or the nosecone. Draw a curved line down from the dot on one side and then the other. Connect the two curved lines with a straight line. Add a skinny rectangle vertically. To make the wings, draw triangles on either side of the engine body. Next, draw the big rocket thruster behind the shuttle then add the two booster rockets.
Vary this drawing to however it suits you. I used Neubecker's illustration to guide me, but other Space Shuttle images will give you different looks.
Once the drawing is done, paint the insides of the shuttle with the different paint colors.

Step Two: Painting the Background
Again, I used Neubecker's illustrations as my guideline. You might want to create a different background. Dip paint brushes into white, orange and yellow paint and create swirling motions with the arms. The kid's loved this part of the project. I didn't limit them to how vapor and steam should look. I just explained how hot it must be to propel the rocket so high up into the air.

Step Three: Putting it all together
Set aside the background and cut out the space shuttle. Glue shuttle to background. Using a small brush dipped in black tempera paint, outline all lines. The pencil lines will be hidden underneath the paint, so explain to the kids that they are to re-draw the shuttle. Keep the teacher sample on the board so they can refer to it.

Kinder Results!


Renée Collins said...

These paintings are so dynamic, and it surprised me that they were done by kindergarten children! A space shuttle is a complex image, but they created some beautiful works! Nicely done!

Heather - Dollarstorecrafts.com said...

This is a great project! Thanks for the great ideas (always!)

Megan said...

LOVE IT! I did the Rocket and Space Collage with my kids this year, and I'm going to have some of the same kids next year, so I'll try this one for the culminating Art project for our Space Month! Thanks!!

Karen M. Olaussen said...

All I can say is you are amazing! I am an elementary art teacher in MN and you are an inspiration! Thank you! I often visit your site as one of my main resources for information and new ideas!

Patty Palmer said...


dsjanowski said...

Thank you so much I am an artist turned teacher and you have helped me to understand the levels for the grades. The projects help to figure where the kids are. thanks again

Missa Katie said...

Wow this looks like a lot of fun. I'd love to steal this idea. :) Our district wants us to post objectives and standards for every lesson now, though. What were yours?

Patty Palmer said...

Hi Katie,
I don't teach to standards. It's not necessary in my opinion. I mean, look at this project...directed drawing, shapes, cutting, pasting, composition, spatial relationships, warm color theory, science...what more could you want.
But on a educational note, if you need to add standards and objectives, look at the skills and thought process that goes into the lesson (kid's POV) and go from there. S & O are usually fairly basic.
Good luck!

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