I am all for experimenting with new materials and concepts with my students.
In fact, I even let them know it is the first time I am doing the lesson
with a group and that it is different when you have done the project on your
own as compared to showing thirty students how to do it. Students will find
a way to do the project in a different way and get different results - you
will use their ideas or "Happy accidents" (whether it was an intentional
deviation or not) for future projects sometimes and sometimes those
accidents are good examples of no-no's.
It is surprising how empowering the idea of being the first class to do
something is to a bunch of 8th graders!
Experimenting is a good way to get to know the ins and outs of materials and
having 30 some students try it out is a sure way to do so quickly. It is
also very brave... I teach year long classes every day to some middle
school students and I cant imagine knowing everything about my materials
(except the safety ins and outs) that we might encounter.
Yay for the plaster mask makers, the enamelers, the ceramisists, the
leatherworkers, the fiber artists and whomever else is out there working
with something new and exciting for you and the students!
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