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Animal Morphs

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Keywords: animals, photography,
Subject(s): Art, Life Science
Grades 2 through 5
School: Puxico Elementary School, Puxico, MO
Planned By: Carleen Johns
Original Author: Carleen Johns, Puxico
Grade Level: Second - Fifth

Computer and printer
Full sheet label paper
Pencils, Markers, Crayons
Rulers or straight edge

Students will make contour drawings of animals. Second graders are encouraged to get away from the stick figures and try to make the attributes of the animal as accurately as possible.
Students place their animal in an appropriate environment.
Students will learn about positive and negative space.


Photo Preparation - Elementary students pretend to be an animal while the teacher or another student takes their photos. The teacher either uses a digital camera or gets digital copies on a CD from the photo developer. The teacher then transfers their photos to Microsoft Publisher or PowerPoint, making their faces 2-3” tall. The photos are then printed using full sheet label paper obtained at Wal-Mart or Staples. Six to eight faces can be placed on a page. The heads are then cut out without necks or background.

Lecture - Portrait and landscape (vertical and horizontal) placement of the picture is discussed as it relates to the drawing of the child’s chosen animal. The teacher demonstrates making a border. The type of animal is written on the top, and the students name is placed in the bottom border. The squares in the corners will be used for logos or symbols related to the chosen animal. Bones or paw prints are appropriate for a dog’s picture. A butterfly may have flowers in the corner.

Drawing - Students then choose where they want their faces to be placed in the picture plane. They can not be removed, and if a child doesn’t like where it’s at, he/she will have to adjust his drawing or maybe even change the animal he/she chose. Students commence to drawing their animals. It is common to remind them to lightly draw basic shapes for where the body, neck, and legs go. Once the animal is drawn, students start on the animals’ environments. The teacher explains the difference between positive and negative space. The teacher discusses how to make things look farther away by overlapping and reducing the size of objects, etc.

Coloring - Students color their outlines with markers and fill in color with crayons. Of course, any medium can be used.

1. Take photos - Students decide which animal they would want to be and then make an appropriate expression for that animal. They get photographed, and the images are cropped to heads only and printed on sticker paper. I use Publisher to arrange as many heads per page as I can get to fit, which keeps printing costs down.
2. Students use rulers to make an even border around a 12x18 sheet of paper
Materials: Digital Cameras, CDs and DVDs, Printers, Keyboards, Writing