Several of the grades are currently beginning to work with clay in ways that relate to their IB inquiries. The grade 2 class is understanding the properties of clay as part of their investigation into matter; the grade 7 and 8 class are looking at clay and culture; and the grade 4/5 class is experiencing clay as part of their investigation into rocks and minerals.
The experience of working with clay is an invaluable experience for sensory development, motor skills, self esteem, and self expression, problem solving skills, discipline, and pride. Clay also has a uniquely therapeutic quality that engages students for hours.
Clay is different from other art mediums in that it requires an understanding of the three dimensional world. The grade 7 and 8 class will be working with the wheel as well as with hand building.
All students gain a better understanding of shape, form, and perspective, and therefore get first hand experience in geometry. They gain knowledge of planning methods and problem solving as they map out their three dimensional project.
There are rules and procedures that need to be followed when working with clay. Through this understanding, students learn something that is very important: discipline yields success. For example, a piece of clay cannot be too thick or too thin; the consistency of moisture is important to its success; and all pieces must be adhered through the most important rule of “slip, score and smooth” all surfaces before attaching.
Something magical happens when children work with clay. Whether it is the sensory response to the clay, the ability to be in charge of the medium or, perhaps, the ability to express and articulate their emotions through their physical prodding or smoothing of the clay, all students of all ages become engaged and engrossed in their work.