Students practice making three basic forms and then use them to create a standing animal.

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 10


Art Techniques
Language Arts
Visual Arts
Media Literacy


ball coil cylinder form modeling clay texture


Crayola Modeling Clay Various Texture Making Tools Garlic Press Plastic Placemats

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Step One

  1. Gather a variety of tools for creating texture and joining the modeling clay.
  2. You can make a pin tool by taping an open paper clip to the end of a pencil.
  3. Make a gouging tool by taping a paper clip to the end of a pencil.
  4. Other useful tools are a garlic press, comb, skewer and toothbrush.

Step Two


  1. Roll out a short thick coil for the body.
  2. Make 4 short small coils for the legs.
  3. Press the modeling clay pieces firmly to each other.
  4. Use a stick or your fingers to blend the clay at the joint to make it stronger.
CREATING A STANDING ANIMAL – Modeling Clay - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Roll a ball for the head.
  2. Attach it firmly to the body.
  3. Make a short cylinder for a snout.
  4. Attach it to the ball.
  5. Use a stick to cut through the middle of the snout. 
CREATING A STANDING ANIMAL – Modeling Clay - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Open the mouth and round the edges.
  2. Add a ball for a nose and a small flattened coil for a tongue.
  3. Add texture and other details to make your animal unique.
  4. Make sure your animal looks good from all directions.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • join two pieces of modeling clay by blending them together;
  • create a standing animal using three basic forms – ball, coil and cylinder;
  • use texture to add interest to the animal;
  • build on their own and others’ discoveries to generate new ideas;
  • explain their process; 
  • express opinions about the works.


Have students:

  • use their clay figures in a group storytelling project using the Diorama lesson plan available on this website;
  • create an animated film of their storytelling;
  • share their work with others.


  1. Prior to this lesson you may want to have students learn basic skills with the Clay Basics techniques lesson available on this website.
  2. Place students into groups so they can share modeling clay and tools.
  3. Gather plastic placemats one for each student.
  4. Gather various texture making tools such as garlic presses, skewers, toothbrushes, combs.



  1. ​Ask how many students have worked with modleing clay, and what they know about it.
  2. Explain that they are going to learn how to make a standing animal using the modeling clay and three basic forms.
  3. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Make a ball, coil and cylinder out of modeling clay.
  2. Use the basic forms to create an imaginary animal.
  3. Join pieces of modeling clay using the blending technique.
  4. Use texture to add interest to the animal.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students. For example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - created a clay animal that can stand on its own
    - used 3 basic forms to construct my animal (
    ball, coil, and cylinder)
    - made strong blended joints
    - added details to make my animal unique
    - added texture 
  3. Demonstrate how to create 3 basic forms – ball, coil, and cylinder, and how to join 2 pieces of clay by blending the clay together.
  4. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  5. When most students have created the basic animal, stop the class and demonstrate/share ideas about how to create texture with the various tools.
  6. Observe students as they work. 
  7. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to: 
    - Compare their work and describe to each other what they did to get certain effects.
    - Discuss the personalities of each animal and what they see that makes them think that.

    - Consider how using basic forms contributed to their ability to make a standing animal.
    - Talk about was difficult and what was easy for them.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask them to tell how they felt about doing this activity.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their artworks – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the animal, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Download - ANIMAL_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Download - ANIMAL_self-assessment.pdf or ANIMAL_PRIMARY_self-assessment.pdf