SCULPTING MYSELF – Medicine Wheel, Physical

Students use Model Magic to create a 3-dimensional figure of themselves. The students reflect on the physical aspect of the Medicine Wheel, and what they do in their own lives to keep their bodies healthy.

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 3 to Grade 8

Subject

Art Techniques
Language Arts
Visual Arts
First Nations, Metis, Inuit

Vocabulary

armature balance colour form sculpture shape

Materials

Pipe Cleaners White Cardstock Paper Crayola Model Magic Markers Construction Paper White Paper

Steps

SCULPTING MYSELF – Medicine Wheel, Physical - Step One

Step One

Begin with a circle and divide it into 4 equal sections. Label each of the quadrants. In the east is spiritual energy (our spirit); in the south is emotional energy (our hearts, our feelings); in the west is physical energy (our bodies, our actions); and in the north is mental energy (our thoughts, our thinking). Focus on the physical aspect of human beings. Imagine an activity you enjoy doing outside with your physical body. Draw the activity in the physical quandrant of the medicine wheel.

SCULPTING MYSELF – Medicine Wheel, Physical - Step Two

Step Two

Brainstorm words and images connected to the physical aspect of your life. Use a variety of shapes to express the physical area of your life. Reflect on what you need to do to keep your physical body healthy. Choose an activity you love to do, an activity that helps keep you healthy.

SCULPTING MYSELF – Medicine Wheel, Physical - Step Three

Step Three

Begin the human form by using 2 pipe cleaners to create an armature. Fold 1 pipe cleaner in half to make the body and legs. Twist the second pipe cleaner into the top of the first one to form the neck and the arms.

SCULPTING MYSELF – Medicine Wheel, Physical - Step Four

Step Four

Cover the pipe cleaners with Model Magic (modeling clay) to form a human body. Make sure your human figure is balanced.

SCULPTING MYSELF – Medicine Wheel, Physical - Step Five

Step Five

Once the pipe cleaners are covered with Model Magic, attach the head using a small round piece of Model Magic.

SCULPTING MYSELF – Medicine Wheel, Physical - Step Six

Step Six

Smooth together all the lines and seams where pieces of Model Magic are connected.

SCULPTING MYSELF – Medicine Wheel, Physical - Step Seven

Step Seven

Use a variety of markers to add skin tones to your figure. Imagine what you look like when you are involved in your physical activity. Choose different colours of Model Magic to make hair and clothing. Add the Model Magic to your figure, and use the markers to add colour to the face.

SCULPTING MYSELF – Medicine Wheel, Physical - Step Eight

Step Eight

Continue to cover your figure in clothing that represents the activity you enjoy participating in outdoors.

SCULPTING MYSELF – Medicine Wheel, Physical - Step Nine

Step Nine

Add detail to your figure using markers. Change any area on your figure that you are not satisfied with by adding Model Magic. Create details on your figure that have a personal connection. When you are satisfied with your sculpture allow it to dry for about 3 days. Once it is dry you can glue it to a small base of cardboard, wood or stone. It will be light enough to support itself once it is dry.

SCULPTING MYSELF – Medicine Wheel, Physical - Step Ten

Step Ten

Reflect on the figure you have created to represent yourself. How does it feel to be physically active? What do you enjoy about the activity you chose? Use a small strip of white paper to write about what makes your physical body feel healthy. Share your sculpture with your class explaining your personal connections.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Use Model Magic to create a human figure;
  2. Communicate their personal understanding of the 'physical' aspect represented in the medicine wheel; and
  3. Express what they do to keep their physical body healthy through words, images, and 3-dimensional form.

 

Extensions

  1. Have students create a list of healthy activities they enjoy. Share the list with each other and other classes.
  2. Have students keep a daily journal documenting at least one thing they do each day to keep their physical bodies healthy.
  3. Have students create posters promoting physical fitness and healthy living choices.
  4. Have students create short videos about why it is important to be active and spend time outdoors. Share the videos with other classes,
     

Prepare

  1. Prior to the lesson download background information about the medicine wheel. The following is a list of helpful links for developing a deeper understanding of the teachings represented by the medicine wheel:
    - Ojibwe/Powawatomi (Anishinabe) Teaching, by Elder: Lillian Pitawanakwat, 2006 (All rights reserved 4D Interactive Inc.)
    Ojibwe
    - Teaching by the Medicine Wheel: An Anishinaabe Framework for Indigenous Education, by: Nicole Bell, 2014
    Medicine Wheel
    - Anishninaabemdaa: Medicine Wheel, by: Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, 2014
    Anishninaabemdaa
    - Teachings of the Medicine Wheel is a curriculum unit developed by the Ontario Native Literacy Coalition, on the Main Resources you can download a student and teacher manual
    Teachings
  2. If available read The Sacred Tree, by Phil Lane, Jr. et. al., 1989. If not, there is an informative preview of the book at the following link 
    Sacred Tree
  3. Download an image of The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Jade Canoe, created by artist: Bill Reid, Haida, 1994.
    Jade Canoe
  4. The following link has a foreword by Bill Reid and gives background information about the sculpture
    Haida Gwaii
  5. Download images from the Internet, or find images in books or magazines of children doing outdoor physical activities.
    Boys Playing
    Swinging
    Soccer
    Unicycle
    Swing

Introduction

  1. Introduce the students to the Haida artist, Bill Reid.
  2. Share Bill Reid's sculpture, The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Jade Canoe, 1994, with the students. Discuss the figures included in The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Jade Canoe, and reflect on what the artist is communicating through each figure. How does the artist express the individual qualities of each passenger on the boat? What do they represent?
  3. Review the different teachings represented by the medicine wheel. Introduce the students to the 4 different aspects (physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional) that are part of each person, and represented by the medicine wheel.
  4. Reflect on each area (physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional) inviting students to share their personal understanding and meaning of each human aspect. The medicine wheel is a symbol teaching us to keep each area healthy and balanced.
  5. Focus on the physical aspect. Ask students to think about, and then discuss how they keep their physical bodies healthy.
  6. Introduce the challenge.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Choose words and images connected to outdoor activities you enjoy, and that keep your physical body healthy.
  2. Use Model Magic to create a small human figure representing yourself.
  3. Express your favourite outdoor physical activity through the 3-dimensional human form.

The Process

  1. After reflecting on the 4 aspects of human beings (physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental) represented by the medicine wheel, ask students to use their sketchbooks to draw a circle and divide it into 4 equal sections.
  2. Label each of the quadrants. In the east is spiritual energy (our spirit); in the south is emotional energy (our hearts, our feelings); in the west is physical energy (our bodies, our actions); and in the north is mental energy (our thoughts, our thinking).
  3. Read The Sacred Tree, Bopp, Bopp, Brown & Lane Jr., 1995.
  4. Explain to students that First Nations communities are diverse and may have different teachings connected to each direction.
  5. Ask students to begin in the west quadrant of the medicine wheel with the physical aspect of human beings. Ask them to draw images, and include words that express physical activities they enjoy doing outdoors.
  6. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  7. Observe students as they work.
  8. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.

Sharing

  1. Once all the sculptures are complete ask students to bring their artworks into a large circle. Invite each student to share how they have expressed an outdoor activity they enjoy through their sculpted figure of themselves.
  2. During the circle discussion include references to balance, and form. Compare form and shape.
  3. Share ideas on how to keep our physical bodies healthy.

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work - exploring, experimenting, adding detail, thoughtful focus.
  2. Listen to and observe students as they discuss the artwords - attentive listening, insightful contributions.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress (Download - SCULPTURE_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students reflect on their own artworks in their sketchbooks. Ask students:                                                                                              
    - What worked well in your artwork? Why?
    - What would you change or do differently next time?
    - Choose one teaching from the medicine wheel and explain why it is important to you.