Thursday, April 9, 2015

6th Grade Insect Art

It's almost time for Bug Bowl at Purdue! As a Purdue student several years ago, I always enjoyed the festival (even though I didn't participate in the cricket spitting contest!!). I think I tried some of the chocolate covered ants and meal worm stir-fry at least once. Now, as an art teacher, my favorite part of Bug Bowl is the student art contest! I am so pleased with my students' work this year! I think they did better than last year's 6th grade class.

The students worked from photographs. I had about 20 different insects already printed in color, and the students could choose a picture to work from. Alternatively, they could tell me a specific insect they wanted to draw, and I printed a picture for them. All these photos will be saved for next year, so I don't think the color printing is a waste!

Of course there is some whining when you tell 12-year-olds that they are going to draw insects. So, I made them all hold their questions and comments until the end; then I showed them some creepy crawly insects. We talked about the details on them, and how to draw them realistically. Then, I showed them some beautiful insects: butterflies, ladybugs, and dragonflies! That got some of their attention a lot better. Lastly, I told them that they could create any scene they wanted with their insect; a dragonfly flying over a pond with cattails? Sure. A ladybug on the stem of a rose? Absolutely. A moth flying through a forest with a waterfall in the background? Awesome. By making the scene their own, a lot of students became more interested. I have one student who shows cattle, and has included a cow in almost everyone of her pieces of art this year. She drew a cow with a butterfly on its nose for this assignment! It was such a creative way to stay within the guidelines for the assignment, and still draw something she was interested in.

I allowed the students to work in any medium they liked. The main choices were crayons, colored pencils, oil pastels, soft pastels, or watercolors. I really wanted the students to take some ownership over this assignment, and make it the way they wanted to (we all know that the most motivated students are the ones working on something they like!)

Here are this year's Bug Bowl pictures from Carroll Elementary School. I hope we get some ribbons this year; I will write another blog post if we do!


  1. Theses are great drawings. Love them!

  2. Very, very nice compositions! The kids worked HARD!! I am a Purdue Alum too - Art Ed :) Go Boilermakers!