Musings about the importance and impact of art and art education in the 21st century.

Aztec Suns 5th Grade

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in at 5:25 PM

As part of our Aztec unit, my fifth graders followed up their Aztec warrior illustrations with foil embossed Aztec suns.  To begin this project I showed students a condensed and age-appropriate version of the many myths of the Aztec sun gods.  We then viewed and discussed some features, specifications and features of the Aztec calendar stone.  I posted a few images of illustrated calender stones on my Smart board and students began sketching.
 I had the students use circle templates in either large, medium, or small and then had them use basic shapes as a way to design a face.  After finishing their sketch the students used a wooden stylus to press their image onto silver foil.  When they finished embossing their sun, they embellished it with colored Sharpie's.  Lastly, students used Aztec design reference sheets to get ideas to decorate a scratch art border. The lesson was a big hit. My fifth graders loved creating their suns and they got a LOT of compliments on all their hard work!

 Just a few quick tips for working with embossing foil:
-Use magazines to place under the foil when embossing.  It acts as a sort of cushion and helps to make pressing the lines into the foil a bit easier.
-If students are tracing a design from paper onto the foil, have them use masking tape to secure the drawing in place.  Do not tape the foil to the magazine, you want students to be able to flip the foil over as they go so they can check their progress. Also, if the masking tape covers their design they can still emboss right over it.
-Give students a heads-up that embossing foil is NOT the same as tin foil but is heavier and that the edges can be sharp and cause 'paper' cuts.
-Every once in a while replace the styluses, they can get dull as they get used repeatedly.