Animal Embassy recently introduced a program which enables children to better understand how an animal's physical structure and behavior helps them to survive in their natural habitat. The program, Sculpting & Shaping Science, provides students with an exciting opportunity to sculpt a diversity of animals with clay!

Hartford Performs: Inspiring Students' Success Through the Arts

Our sculpting program is provided to Hartford Public School students through Hartford Performs. Hartford Performs is a collaborative network of Hartford Public Schools, arts providers, community organizations, funders and other supporters working together in a planned and integrated way to deliver quality arts education programs to Hartford Public School students. This arts education collaborative is dedicated to inspiring students’ success through the arts. The community, the school district, artists and arts organizations work toward ensuring Hartford students are college and career ready. Arts enrichment helps students to engage and improve academically.

Our program seamlessly combines Art and Science. On two recent school visits, Educator Jenn (above) worked with Grade 3 classes, beginning with an introduction to each of the live Animal Ambassadors who accompanied her.  For this grade, she focused on Animal Adaptations, including content about the tools (adaptations) which enable each animal to survive in its natural habitat.

Following the introduction, each of the students eagerly received clay to sculpt a likeness of an Animal Ambassador with which they got up close & personal! Each student received a portion of clay, a sealed plastic bag in which to store it, plastic cutlery/tools and a take-home recipe for making more clay at home!

Educator Jenn brought five Animal Ambassadors to Burns Latino Studies Academy. Animals represented a variety of habitats and classifications: an African Sulcata tortoise, Emperor Scorpions, a Black King snake, a very large African bullfrog and a Bearded dragon. The students worked on replicating the snake’s scale patterns. They focused on the roundness of the African bullfrog as well as the shape of his legs and toes. They also recreated the triangular head of the Bearded dragon, his oval body and the protrusion of his legs from the side of his body.

Educator Jenn discussed not only the fact that each of the Animal Ambassadors has adaptations that help them to survive in their habitat, but also the fact that two animals living in the same habitat might use completely different adaptations.

Above, a live Emperor scorpion used as the "model." Below, a student sculpted its likeness.

The students at Burns Latino Studies Academy were interested in how very different the animal models were in their appearance.  Many of the student artists enjoyed the challenge of accurately expressing the legs of the Emperor scorpion (see above). Several enthusiastic young ladies focused on how its legs are bent and how to replicate its pincers.

Above, Sulcata tortoises. The younger tortoise (smaller) was the live "model."Below, a student perfected the sculptured shell.

Jenn explained how the shell helps to protect the tortoise.  The students working with the Black King snake learned how King snakes can climb trees and rocks using only their muscles and scales, then manipulated the clay with their tools and fingers to create scales.

At Maria C. Colon Sanchez Elementary School, students got up close and personal with a diversity of frogs and toads. This program was planned by the teachers who will soon start a curriculum unit related to Amphibians.

Educator Jenn included an African bullfrog (above) a Cane toad, a Blue Poison Dart frog, Red-eyed Tree frogs and a Stamford native Gray Tree frog.  The students explored how bright colors in nature can serve as a warning to predators and can be used in mimicry, when one species mimics another’s characteristics to protect itself. The frogs and toads were compared and many students noticed how the tree frogs’ feet differed from those of the toad that lives on the ground, or the frog that lives in water. 

Below, a student works on creating an African bullfrog.

In the photo below, a student creates a Cane toad.

When sculpting, many students made two animals side by side and enjoyed how detailed and creative they could be. Some of the children chose to keep their sculptures and to bring them home. The students had much fun during the process and were very proud of their art work! Educator Jenn was impressed by the students’ creativity and amazed by their creations and the way they used not only their hands, but also their imagination in creating their works of art.


We look forward to meeting young artists throughout the school year!

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