My 4th grade students recently made slab boxes for their ceramic project. I got the idea from a lesson I saw on Being Cr8iv, one of my favorite blogs for inspiration for clay projects.
This project took 3 40-minute class periods to build the box, and 2 class periods to glaze the box. On the first day, I had the students cut a shape they liked out of paper. If they wanted a symmetrical shape, I showed them how to fold their paper in half and cut only half to make it perfect. If they wanted a circle, I had them trace a round object.
After every student had a shape they liked, we rolled out clay slabs, and each students traced their paper shape with a needle tool, then moved it to a different part of their slab, and traced it again to make two identical shapes. We wrapped the two clay shapes in a plastic bag to keep them moist until the next class period, and we put a sheet of newspaper between the two shapes to keep them from sticking to each other.
The following week, the students rolled out new slabs, and traced both sides of a ruler to make a long, skinny slabs for the sides of their boxes. I showed them how to slip and score the bottom edge of their long slab, and the top edge of their bottom shape to attach the sides.
The last class before glazing was used to smooth out bumpy edges with a moist sponge, attach handles, and carve designs.
After I bisque-fired the finished boxes, we glazed them. Leaving the underside of the lid and the top edge of the sides unglazed allows the lid to stay on well because of the rough texture.
Below are a few examples of student work. I am really proud of how creative many of them were!