Grades 3 - 4 (Can be adapted for higher grades)
Students recreate themselves as never-before-seen creatures. Using discarded materials such as plastic bottles, caps, and paper towel rollers, students construct free-standing, three-dimensional creatures whose faces are their own cut-out photographs. The creatures are then covered in papier mache’ and further adorned with scrap materials.
The art project challenges students to move beyond their comfortable notions of self and explore alternate identities whose appeal lies in difference and creativity.
Children's-adapted Frankenstein film: https://youtu.be/51DjtWFSir0
Frankenstein (book) by Mary Shelley
Graphite and colored pencils, markers, erasers, rulers
B&W photocopies of student photographic portraits
Empty, cleaned, recyclable, plastic containers
Multi-sized, paper towel rollers
Colored tissue-paper pieces
Children's friendly papier mache' mix
Small containers with lids, brushes (for papier mache')
Craft sticks, buttons, colored-yarn, felt and construction-paper scraps, pipe cleaners
Additional, throw-away arts & craft, sewing, office sundries
Tempera paints, brushes, paint palettes (or small bowls)
Masking tape, liquid glue, scissors
Julien Tomasello MFA, MAT
Investigating the themes of diversity, exclusion, inclusion, and empathy, 3rd and 4th grade students are introduced to the iconic monster FRANKENSTEIN, through the original Gothic/Romantic novel written by Mary Shelley and published in 1818 at the age of 23. Using a special, children’s-adapted, animated film based on the novel, students witness the rejection of the creature by its creator, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, and the villagers due to the creature’s appearance and inability to communicate.
To coincide with their investigation of FRANKENSTEIN, students also learn about Philadelphia-based artist, Leo Sewell. Sewell is a self-termed 'junk artist' who repurposes discarded objects through the creation of realistic assemblage sculptures, often in the form of animals or iconic objects.
Click above to view the children's-adapted, Frankenstein film
Pose questions: What do you know about the story of Frankenstein? How would you describe the Frankenstein creature? After class responses, present, Frankenstein (book) by Mary Shelley. Explain how the story was first conceived (via competition with writer friends), then published in 1818 when Shelley was 23-years old.
Present children's-adapted animation of, Frankenstein. Guide the class to look for major themes with the Frankenstein creature. After film, pose the questions: What did the Frankenstein creature experience from the people he came across? Why? Do people today react the same way towards others who are different? Why? How would you feel if you looked like something never before? Would you be the same person inside? Guide the discussion to cover the themes of: difference, discrimination, stereotype,diversity, and acceptance.
At demo table, present Creature and armature exemplars, and art materials. Instruct students to draw creature ideas in sketchbooks using art materials as a guide for preliminary designs.
Students construct armatures using tape, containers, paper towel rollers, and other non-decorative supplies.
Students apply layers of papier mache' over armatures. Let dry.
Students decorate Creatures using paints and other art, sewing, and office sundries. Portraits are then colored, cut-out, and applied to Creatures. Portraits can be further collaged with available project materials.
Sample lesson plan
Purchase the book, Frankenstein
FRANKENSTEIN SELF-PORTRAIT CREATURES