In this lesson, student artists are introduced to the concept of ‘anthropomorphic’ animals. They play a modified ‘bingo’ game which has them draw and think about what roles different animals typically play in popular culture.
Students will be able to:
- understand the concept of anthropomorphic animals.
- identify ways specific animals have commonly been anthropomorphized.
Students will be working in groups.
Have materials set up in a way that is easy to pass out, see, and select from.
Make sure to cut apart the ‘caller cards’ (included in the Animal Stereotype PDF) prior to class starting.
10M, INSPIRATION IMAGE
LOOK AND DISCUSS AN ART PIECE THAT INTRODUCES SOME OF THE LESSON CONCEPTS
Project the inspiration image where students can see it. Give students a moment to study it silently, then begin a brief discussion with the phrase, “What can we find?”. Paraphrase what students say for the benefit of the class, being careful to remain neutral, then ask “What else can we find?”. Alternately, allow them to draw or write what they notice on a blank piece of paper or in a sketchbook.
- ‘William Wegman, “Stepmother,” 1992.
- William Wegman makes ‘collaborations’ with his dogs, dressing them up and posing them as different characters. It started with his first dog, Man Ray, then grew to include his second dog, Fay Ray, and then finally included Fay Ray and her litter of puppies. He has made polaroid photographs of these dogs, which is what ‘Stepmother’ is, as well as created entire books where he bases the dogs character on their personality—such as Cinderella or Red Riding Hood.
Note on using the information above: As your students participate in a conversation around this artwork, it may occasionally be helpful to provide them with additional or contextual information. This information can and should be imparted at the teacher’s discretion.
The point of this discussion time is to have students learn and add onto each other’s thoughts. By remaining neutral and simply repeating what students say you allow students to do the heavy mental lifting and also create an environment where there is no wrong answer, fostering creativity and mental risk-taking.
5M, INTRODUCTION VIDEO
WATCH THE INTRODUCTION VIDEO & CHECK FOR UNDERSTANDING
Check for understanding by asking, “Who was listening closely that can sum up what we are doing today?” Make sure that student artists can list all the steps and clarify anything that needs clarifying.
- Students receive a bingo sheet.
- The caller (teacher) reaches in the hat and pulls out a human quality, NOT reading what that animal it is.
- The students decide what animal on their list could represent this human quality—if they want, they can discuss with the students around them
- If they have this space on their bingo sheet, they draw the animal in it.
- The caller keeps track of time, stops the group, and gives the correct answer.
- If the students got it correct, they outline the box in a color.
- They are trying to create a row of correct answers—they can have one person win horizontally, one vertically, and one angled
FOCUS ON STUDENTS CONNECTING ANIMALS WITH HUMAN TRAITS BY ASKING ‘WHY’ THEY CHOSE THE ANIMAL THEY DID
Students play a modified Bingo game that will help them think about and consider how different animals are commonly depicted with human traits. This should be fun and lighthearted. In the event that an animal is contested, discuss with the class. Give examples, etc. There will be little one-on-one discussion as the teacher is the ‘caller’, but the teacher can walk around during discussion times and participate by asking students “why” they make the animal choices that they do.
The students work independently on their bingo sheet, but take part in group discussions about what animal could be described by the human traits the caller/teacher has read out. This can be casual—the teacher does not need to put students in formal groups, rather, they can just talk to the students around them if they want.
STUDENTS LEARN ABOUT THE PROJECT AND CHOOSE A SELECTION OF ANIMALS THEY ARE INTERESTED IN EXPLORING
Depending on the teacher’s style of classroom management, it might be helpful to only choose and train a few kids to clean. The rest of the class can be busy with the presentation. Make sure to train these helpers well in advance so that you aren’t left with a messy room.
Clean-up times will vary with materials; get to know your class and allow 5-10 minutes depending on how efficient they are and whether or not the material was messy.
As your helpers clean, gather the rest of the class and explain that in this project, they are going to choose an animal, draw it, and also draw things to represent the stereotypes commonly associated with the animal. Ask them to choose up to two animals they are thinking about drawing, and to circle them on their sheet.
Note: Some students may ask if they can draw an animal not listed on the sheet. This is up to the teachers discretion. The teacher will be provided a packet with animal photos, but if the teacher chooses to let them have additional animals, it will mean looking up photos for them to reference.
- If a student is having a hard time deciding what animal to use, encourage discussion with their neighbors.
- If students disagree with the answer, ask them to defend it. If they convince you, allow it!
N/A, students will be working as a class.
This project is free to access, but after the first lesson, you will have to create a free account and enroll in the course. After you create an account and enroll, the project can be accessed from the ‘artroom’ tab at the top of the page.