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
Visual Arts
Media Literacy
Director's Cut


ball coil cylinder form modeling clay texture


Plastic Placemat various Texture Making Tools Modeling Clay Garlic Press



Step One

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


Step Two

To make a standing animal (dog) roll out a short thick coil for the body and 4 short small coils for the legs. You can learn how to make basic shapes for building clay sculptures on this website at:
Clay Basics

CREATING A STANDING ANIMAL – Modeling Clay - Step Three

Step Three

Press the modeling clay pieces firmly to each other. Use a stick or your fingers to blend the joint to make it stronger.

CREATING A STANDING ANIMAL – Modeling Clay - Step Four

Step Four

Roll a ball for the head. Join it firmly to the body.

CREATING A STANDING ANIMAL – Modeling Clay - Step Five

Step Five

Make a short cylinder for a snout. Attach it to the ball. 


Step Six

Use a stick to cut through the middle of the snout.

CREATING A STANDING ANIMAL – Modeling Clay - Step Seven

Step Seven

Open the mouth and round the edges. Add a nose (ball) and a tongue (small flattened coil).

CREATING A STANDING ANIMAL – Modeling Clay - Step Eight

Step Eight

Add texture and other details to make your animal unique.

CREATING A STANDING ANIMAL – Modeling Clay - Step Nine

Step Nine

Make sure your animal looks good from all directions.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Join two pieces of modeling clay by blending them together;
  2. Create a standing animal using three basic forms – ball, coil and cylinder;
  3. Use texture to add interest to the animal;
  4. Build on their own and others’ discoveries to generate new ideas;
  5. Explain their process; and
  6. Express opinions about the works.


  1. Provide opportunities for students to use their animals in a group storytelling project such as,
    - Claymation
    - Diorama
    - Triarama  (Making 4 triaramas and joining them together to make the beginning, middle, middle and ending of a story.)
    - Slideshow 


  1. Prior to this lesson you may want to have students learn basic skills with the techniques lesson on this website.
    Clay Basics
  2. Place students in 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. Demonstrate how to create the 3 basic forms.
  2. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  3. When most students have created the basic animal, stop the class and demonstrate/share ideas about how to create texture with the various tools.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. 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 the art works – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Download - ANIMAL_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Download - ANIMAL_self-assessment.pdf or ANIMAL_PRIMARY_self-assessment.pdf