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Peggy Woolsey wrote:
> You didn't specify what age group you are working with, but I
> done an endanged species project every year that I've taught middle
> school.It is especially designed for grade 8. I call it the endangered
> species mandala.
> Usually I work with the science teacher on this. Where I am,
> grade 8 the students look at habitat and environment in science class.
> Using computers, the library, any sources really, they choose an
> species to research. They must get enough information to be able to
> visuals. They must be specific, for example, a butterfly won't work,
> but a
> North American Monarch will. An elephant for example must be placed in
> specific habitat, could be India or Africa. This is because they will
> info on the jungle, or grasslands etc. Their research pushes them ever
> further into the environment.
> After discussing the idea of radial balance and showing
> from all over the world, students do a good detailed drawing of their
> animal to place in the center of the work. Around this they will come
> with something to describe a habitat such as water, or mountains. This
> tricky. How can you make your water represent an ocean as opposed to a
> or vice versa. And some mountains have bamboo growing in them and some
> softwood trees. Next round might be what the animal eats, or what
> species inhablit the habitat. At this point I am introducing the use
> stencils to make prints that repeat around. Usually they want to stop
> but I try to get them to keep thinking outwards and what else there is
> think about. I encourage them to keep using bigger sheets of paper, to
> things on, to think about an entire ecosystem. Does the species
> (More than one habitat?) How do they mate, produce young? Are they
> or do they live alone? How to represent these ideas. Lastly they must
> include something which indicates why the species is endangered. Guns,
> harpoons, cut down trees, and garbage tend to form this ring .
> In making their mandalas, I encourage the
> students to also use repeat designs which may or may not have anything
> do with the species. Somethimes dividing the rings with a series of
> triangles or some other simple design, adds alot to the overall unity.
> The results always knock my socks off. It is a long project
> somethimes I have found that I expected too much from some classes.
> idea can be pared down. Or scaled up. Last year one student did one on
> whales which expanded to half a wall. They learn alot about the
> about radial balance, and the benefits of having things repeat (the
> stencils). Often students will use several media by the time they are