Second Class

Teacher Mr. McCarthy

Artist Liz McMahon

Exploring Maths and Science through “Creativity in the Classroom”

Session 1

Senses, Texture and Clay.

We began by discussing our senses. How many have we, and what are they? If we were missing one which other senses would we use most, example, being blind or deaf.

The children were asked to close their eyes for one minute and listen. How far can we hear? Can we hear beyond where we can see? Can we hear better when we close our eyes?

They explored touch. With their eyes open the children begin to touch their jumpers, their faces, hair, etc. How do these textures feel? They began to collect lovely words to describe textures and made up new descriptive onomatopoeic words.

The children were asked to close their eyes again and to put out their hands. An object was placed in each child’s hands. They were asked to keep their eyes closed and to think of words to describe the weight, temperature, and textures of their object. (I have a collection of difficult-to-recognize objects; mainly found washed up on beaches)

When they opened their eyes they took turns telling the class what their object felt like. This builds up their vocabulary and their ability to describe their own artwork and articulate any problems in their future work

Again they closed their eyes and each child was given a small handful of clay.

They began to mould the clay, to look at the effect it had on their hands. At this point a wooden board was placed on the table in front of each child. They rolled and pounded the clay, remarking on the changes.

3D shape

 We left a small soft ball of clay upon a cupboard to see what would happen during the week.

Session 2

Texturing clay and building with slabs.

The children reminded me about the clay on the high shelf. We passed it around. They remarked that it was harder, that it was a lighter colour, it wasn’t sticky anymore and it was smaller. Many began to work in pairs or groups as they observed the advantage of making bigger buildings. In the excitement of building, some children took short cuts and didn’t cut out rectangle and square shapes. They tried to use what I called “Mr. Blobby” shapes. They found it difficult to join these rough edges. We looked at the problems. We had a look at the walls and the ceiling of the classroom. The wall edges were very straight. This gave them an understanding of building with 2d shapes to make 3d shapes.

Session 3

Group Work with Slab Building.

The children consolidated their ideas from the last session. They were able to make their work quicker as they now had the techniques and realised that “Mr. Blobby” shapes are difficult to work with



Session 4

Paper Construction


 Session 5


A visit to the Sculpture in Context Exhibition at the Botanic Gardens.

Session 6

More Paper Construction.



 Using these techniques the children created 3d paper worlds. I notice that some repeated ideas they had in clay such as mansions and castles. They finished off by putting in details with marker.

Session 7

Why do we wear masks at Halloween?

This was the last session before the Halloween holiday. Parents were invited to see a slide show of the children’s work and participate in a workshop with their children.



Session 8

Fairy Houses

At the end of the last session I suggested that the children decide what they would like to work with for our last session. A large majority chose to work with clay.I added natural materials and suggested we use clay to put them together. I showed slides of fairy houses in nature made with natural materials to inspire.


The children were asked to begin with the structure. Some children decided to work in pairs and groups.

  • What materials will you use?
  • How will you put them together?

They were shown a simple tee-pee or tripod structure that might be useful. Some children started with this. One child came up with a new structure that worked. We all had a look at it, two A-frames with a ridgepole across the top. A group built several upright bamboos stuck in clay. It looked wonderful but they found that it kept falling as they added things to it so they changed to the two A-frame structure. They learned by trial and error and from each other.