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Lesson Plans

Impossible Packages: a 3-D project

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Tue, 16 Jul 1996 08:19:29 +0000

Hi Charlotte,

6th grade history/art and /LA... what a great combination! Here's
one of the most popular 3-d assignments in Exploring Art. It's a
graphic design project called "Impossible Packages."

Students invent an impossible product and then create the packaging.
We define 'impossible' as either something that is physically
impossible or highly unlikely such as Beach-in-a-Box or Sperm Whales
to go. The product can also be something one never hopes to see on
the grocery store shelves such as Major Body Parts Soup or
Bug-Flavored Dirt (just add water). Fantasy and humor are
encouraged and the students keep me laughing with their creativity.

We start with a homework assignment of bringing in a food package or
container of some sort. Using this, each student takes an
advertising and graphic design tour of his or her package. We look for the
following elements: company name, product title, product picture,
description, ingredients, special offers, nutritional information,
serving size, price, uniform product code and serving suggestions.
All of these elements must be on the impossible package.

Students then invent their product and design a scale model of the
package on The Planning Sheet. Every major product starts with a
planning sheet. It is my opportunity to keep everyone on task, put
them through the steps of brainstorming, check for appropriate
content and give them a credit check towards their grade. On the
appropriate content angle; I have a 'stock' explanation. We don't do
art which incorporates drugs, alcohol, violence, tobacco or sex, but
gross is alright. I find I have a high tolerance for gross (but
still set limits on the scatalogical.)

Once credit checked, students move on to tracing a flat box pattern
(I provide) onto 12"x18" 80lb. white drawing paper. This will later be laminated
and then folded up into a box with roughly the proportions of a cereal box.
Students use colored pencils and fine line black markers to complete
the artwork. They also cut out a 'window' somewhere on the front of
the box. After these are laminated, students cut out and fold the
boxes; a true test of how accurately they transferred the box pattern.
The now laminated window in the front of the box can be filled with
weird stuff placed into a plastic baggy and taped inside the box.

For a 3-d result, this project uses minimal materials and is pretty
cost effective on the laminator. Students have told me that they
keep their packages for years!

As to my e-mail address, the original server just assigned the name
to me, but when given a choice by the new server, I kept it 'cause
it's a kick in the pants!

Hope you enjoy Impossible Packages. Please share some of your

-Alix Peshette
Emerson Junior High School
Davis, CA

P.S. You are so lucky that your part of the curriculum covers Egypt!
What a rich source of art possibilities!