STENCIL A POLLINATOR – Shape, Colour, Contrast

Students learn about pollinators, choose one and then use markers with water to create a stencil print of it. Once the print is finished they write about pollinators inside the shape.  

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 3


Language Arts
Visual Arts


colour contrast pollinator shape stencil print


Crayola Broad Line Markers Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Crayola Crayons Crayola Scissors Write-On Transparency Film or Plastic File Folders cut into rectangles - 14 cm x 21.5 cm (5 ½" x 8 ½") - 1 per student Masking Tape Small Pieces of Sponge - about 3 cm x 3 cm (1 ¼"x 1 ¼") - 1 per student Paper Towels Water Containers

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STENCIL A POLLINATOR – Shape, Colour, Contrast - Step One

Step One

  1. Draw a picture of your pollinator on a 14 cm x 21.5 cm (5 ½" x 8 ½") piece of paper.
  2. Make it fill the whole paper.
  3. Draw just the outline of your pollinator on a new paper.
  4. Use a marker to trace the outline of your pollinator on the plastic rectangle.
STENCIL A POLLINATOR – Shape, Colour, Contrast - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Cut out the shape.
  2. Clean the marker off the plastic shape with a tissue.
  3. Roll a piece of masking tape with the sticky side facing out to make a cylinder. 
  4. Place it on the back of the plastic shape.
  5. Fasten the shape to your paper.
  6. Use crayons to colour things your pollinator likes around the plastic shape.
  7. Press hard with the crayon.
  8. Leave some paper white.
STENCIL A POLLINATOR – Shape, Colour, Contrast - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Draw some marker along the outer edge of the plastic shape.
STENCIL A POLLINATOR – Shape, Colour, Contrast - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Dip a small piece of sponge into water.
  2. Squeeze most of the water out of the sponge.
  3. The sponge should be damp not wet or the colours will be very pale.
STENCIL A POLLINATOR – Shape, Colour, Contrast - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Drag the wet sponge over the marker ink and onto the crayon design.
  2. Continue in this way until the outer frame is complete.
STENCIL A POLLINATOR – Shape, Colour, Contrast - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Gently remove the plastic shape from the paper.
  2. You have made a stencil print.
  3. Write about your pollinator inside the shape.
  4. View your work with fresh eyes.
    - The words tell us things about pollinators.
    - What more can we learn from the colours and details you drew?
    - What do you like best about your work? Why?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • identify pollinators and their importance;
  • create a stencil print of a pollinator;
  • communicate information about pollinators using words and pictures;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the works.


Have students:

  • create a set of 6 cards with a pollinator design using a Styrofoam board printmaking technique; 
    - See Little Dinosaur lesson plan available on this website.
  • write environmental messages about the importance of pollinators inside the cards;
  • send the cards to friends and family.


  1. Download and display the Colour and Shape  posters available on this website.
  2. Prepare materials to use for a demonstration.
  3. Cut plastic file folders or transparencies into 14 cm x 21.5 cm (5.5" x  8.5") rectangles - 1 per student.
  4. Cut sponges into 3 cm x 3 cm (1.25" x 1.25") piece - 1 per student.
  5. Cut paper into 14 cm x 21.5 cm (5.5" x  8.5") rectangles - 2 per student.
  6. Gather, and make available books about pollinators, e.g., What If There Were No Bees?: A Book About the Grassland Ecosystem (Food Chain Reactions), by Suzanne Buckingham Slade, and Carol Schwartz; Give Bees a Chance, by Bethany Barton; Flower Talk: How Plants Use Color to Communicate, by Sara Levine, Masha D'yans; What Is Pollination?, by Bobbie Kalman; The Reason for a Flower: A Book About Flowers, Pollen, and Seeds, by Ruth Heller ; From Seed to Plant, by Gail Gibbons; and Bees, Bugs, and Butterflies: A Family Guide to Our Garden Heroes and Helpers, by Ben Raskin.
  7. Teach students about the importance of pollinators.


  1. Conduct a read-aloud with a book such as Bees, Bugs, and Butterflies: A Family Guide to Our Garden Heroes and Helpers, by Ben Raskin focusing on:
    - the importance of pollinators;
    - how pollinators work;
    - flower preferences for different insects.
  2. Make a list of pollinators on a chart paper.
  3. Demonstrate the process for making a stencil print using a plastic shape and marker.
  4. Discuss what happens when water mixes with the ink, and how it reacts when it is dragged over wax crayon.
    - water and wax are different forms of matter;
    - matter is made up of tiny molecules that are attracted to each other;
    - water beads up when it is on wax - the water molecules stick together but not to the wax;
    - water and wax do not mix - artists use this understanding of chemistry to make art using a technique called crayon resist.
  5. Discuss the use of shape to define a space for the written work.
  6. Introduce the challenge


The Challenge

  1. Choose a pollinator.
  2. Create a stencil print of your pollinator.
  3. Communicate information about your pollinator using words and pictures.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity. 
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - created a stencil print

    - created pictures with crayon
    - pressed hard with crayon so it shows through the marker ink
    - used colour to show something important about my pollinator
    - communicated information about my pollinator using words and pictures
    - kept my paper in good condition
    - explained why pollinators are important
  3. Demonstrate the technique as you guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work.
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to: 
    - View the works carefully.
    - Compare their work and describe to each other what they did to get certain effects.
    - Read each other their stories.
    - Talk about what else they can learn from the colours and pictures around the shape.

    - Talk about what they like about each others' work, and why.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask them to tell how they felt about doing this project.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their stencil prints – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the print, 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 print.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – PollinatorStencil_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – PollinatorStencil_self-assessment.pdf)