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Mixed Beasts

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Keywords: Mixed Beats, Kenyon Cox, Adobe, Photoshop, layers, masking, tools, Language Arts, creative writing
Subject(s): Technology, Reading, English/Language Arts
Grades 4 through 8
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Christ the King School, Burlington, VT
Planned By: Kevin Laverty
Original Author: Kevin Laverty, Burlington
“Mixed Beasts”

Topic: Abobe Photoshop
Context: graphic design/technology instruction
Essential Question:
• How can you manipulate images with technology?
• To show students how to modify images using Adobe Photoshop
• Students will produce an image representing a “mixed beast” using two or more separate image files.

Class discussion, working files in home drive, completed image

Information Literacy

Vermont Information Technology Standards
• 1.18 Students use computers, telecommunications, and other tools of technology to research, to gather information and ideas, and to represent information and ideas accurately and appropriately.
• 1.19.c. Conduct effective searches for information and ideas;
• 1.21 Students employ a variety of techniques to use simulations and to develop models.


Adobe Photoshop
Mixed Beasts by Kenyon Cox
Purpose/Plan worksheet
Google image search
Mixed Beasts rubric

Teaching/Learning Procedures and Activities

“Have you ever heard how people used to create “fantastic” animals to trick people [cite Ripley’s mermaid, two animals sewn together]? Kenyon Cox has imagined animals like the “bumblebeaver” or a “cream puffin” [read Mixed Beasts]

Mini Lesson:
“We’re going to be creating our own “mixed beasts” using Adobe Photoshop. First we’ll need to plan our project. Let’s draw up a list of possible “mixed beasts” and then search for appropriate images. Next, we’ll need to combine the images in Photoshop.”

Day 1:
Discuss best search practices. Search Google Images for appropriate images using whiteboard.
Day 2:
Review layers, masking, and tools in Adobe Photoshop using whiteboard.
“Now let’s think of how to combine your images into a believable image”

Days 3-5
Students work in Adobe Photoshop to design, merge, and polish their “mixed beast” images.

“Let’s take a look at what beasts we have!”
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Students can create their own "Mixed Beasts" stories in Language Arts based on their creations in the Tech Lab.
Links: "Mixed Beasts" overview
Materials: Whiteboards, Printers, Art Tools, Authoring and Publishing
Other Items: 1 SMART Board 680 with UF55 Projector, $3,299 each
Adobe Photoshop site license, $? each
"Mixed Beasts", $17.95 each