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Sixth-Graders Build Imaginary Vehicles Based on Second-Graders’ “Poem Mobiles” Drawings 

drawingtwo studentsA collaborative art project between sixth-graders at Amherst Middle School and second-graders at Smallwood Drive and Windermere Boulevard elementary schools had a special connection for the Hickey sisters; second-grader Dahlia and sixth-grader Fiona. 

The project had sixth-graders creating a 3-D prototype of a vehicle based on drawings done by the elementary students. Inspiration for the drawings came from the book “Poem Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems” by J. Patrick Lewis and Douglas Florian which has poems and drawings about imaginary vehicles such as a bathtub car, an egg car or a banana split car. Smallwood art teacher Anna LoTempio and Windermere art teacher Nick Colantino both read the book to their students, then the second-graders made up their own crazy car drawings.

Dahlia Hickey drew a high heel car with many colors and details. The first step for her sister Fiona was to create a prototype using Google Draw. Next was to build a frame of cardboard. At each stage of the project, sixth-grade art teacher Christina Klein incorporated Design Thinking skills and mindsets based on the Henry Ford Learning Institute model that art, technology and business faculty at Amherst have been trained in. Using design thinking, the students creatively solve any challenges or refine their design. The sixth-graders had to use found or recycled materials to build the vehicle. 

A challenge for Fiona was cutting the curve of the shoe in cardboard, doing the corners with paper mache and mixing up paint colors. As she was creating, she thought about her sister and what she would want.

“When I got home, I asked her, “What do you think about this?” said Fiona. “I asked her what she thought, anything I should improve or change. I brought it home, and I said it’s here. She loved it.”

students with projectsFor sixth-grader Cayden Wagner the best part of the project was making the Google drawing and the plan to sculpt the coffee and doughnut car drawn by Windermere second-grader Sophia Marino. He worked with Ashiya Rai who said she learned to look at the smaller, tiny details which can be a big part of the project. Cayden agreed, saying there were many little pieces in the Google drawing that could not be incorporated into the model. Their model had many coats of paint and attaching the tiny pieces, the wheels and the handle was hard.

“This project sparked creative interest,” said Cayden. “This was a second-grade drawing and we created it in real life and the second-grader would be really happy.”

“The best thing I learned was learning that it doesn't matter what material you use, you can make something,” said Fiona.