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Re: Butterfly stabile--THE Details


From: Ann Heineman (aheinema_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Apr 20 2002 - 09:03:24 PDT

Hi Folks,
    I am overwhelmed at the responses I got asking me to post the lesson
about a butterfly stabile garden. So here goes....

Inspiration: the works of Alexander Calder. Students learned the terms
"mobile" and "stabile," plus kinetic, positive and negative spaces and
shapes, bi-lateral symmetry and mixed media.

Classroom connection: Second grade spring science unit on butterlies. The
children use science kits which include all the materials for "hatching"
real butterflies.

Materials: for stabile base....Box cardboard pre-cut to preferred size,
about 3 per child. I made ours 6 by 6 inches because of our severe space
crunch in the room.
                Thin flexible paper or fabric to cover the layers of
cardboard which have been taped together--up to 1/2" thickness. Cut the
paper larger than the cardboard to create flaps. Using a thin adhesivie,
center the cardboard base on the covering material. Fold over the flaps one
at a time, then miter the corners. Adhere the flaps to the bottom of the

            for butterflies...traditional method 1 Cut pieces of
construction paper and fold in half, cut to form butterflies. Do the drops
of paint and fold technique as described in another post on this subject.
Allow to dry. Add extra patterns with marker, oil crayon, beads, sequins,
            method 2 Using pieces of scrap dry round reed, form simple
(will resemble a tear drop shape) butterly wings and tape ends together
where insect body will be. Overlap taped tips of wings and tape together.
Set aside. Form insect body with another piece of reed folded in half. Wind
tape below tips of reed, which will stick out to form antennae. Center wings
joint on body and attach with piper cleaner, wrapping around with a figure 8
motion. You will probably need to do this for the young ones. Add extra
short pipe cleaner pieces to body for legs and antennae extensions.
            Cover tops of reed skeletal wings with thin paper paste. Add a
sheet of tissue paper to each. (Japanese rice papers would be lovely, too.)
Trim excess paper to shape of wing. We usually cut it a little larger than
the reed and fold under the edge for better adherence and appearance.
Add your favorite decorative media to tissue paper.
            Back to base...Use more reed scraps and shape into framework for
suspending the butterlies. Attach to base in whatever way works for you
with the supplies you have. Sometimes the reed will flop around, which can
be fun as long it is securely attached to the base somwhere. Attach or
suspend butterlies from open reed framework with thread, string or pipe
cleaners. Use more mixed media to create flowers, grass, etc.
    For writing extension the students add a creative story about their
butterfly gardens.
    Note regarding reed. I use the largest round reed that Dick Blick
catalog offers.
    Please feel welcome to ask for any explanations. Hope this lesson will
be helpful to you.

                Ann-on-y-mouse in Columbus
                Seven More Weeks to Retirement!

>> Hi Jodi,
>> Last spring my second graders made a butterly stabile garden. Simple
>> materials and lots of fun to do. Let me know if you want details.
>> Ann-on-y-mouse in Columbus