Charley Harper Animals in their Ecosystems
Charley Harper is an artist from Cincinnati that created dynamic animal designs by painting, collage and screen printing. His animals were minimized to simple geometric shapes, and at the same time possessed a realistic way about them that gave them vibrant life. You can learn more about Charley Harper here.
I introduced the work of Harper to my 5th graders and connected this project with science by teaching about ecosystems which is part of our 5th grade science state standards.
The circle must have been Harper's favorite shape because many of his designs include circles or parts of circles. This became one of the requirements of the project. After the students chose an animal to create, they were to use at least one circle or a part of a circle to construct their animal out of construction paper. The backgrounds, which were the animals' ecosystems, were drawn with markers. Stencils were used to trace circles and other shapes and rulers were used for straight lines. The students were required to write the name of the ecosystem that their animal was from on the back of their paper.