Bees and Printmaking

Last year I collaborated with the second grade team when they worked on their insect unit in science.  They studied beetles so we made beetles using glue, metallic paint, and chalk.  This year, I wanted to do something similar.  Maille, my hall neighbor, and good friend, suggested I do something with bees and hexagons.  Boom! An idea was sparked.  I really wanted to do some printmaking with bubble wrap and different kinds of textures.  I also wanted to teach my students a little more about bees.  Can I stress enough their importance on Earth?  And can I stress even more that we need to do way more than what we are doing for them? Or maybe we should be doing less… a lot less… we are killing them!

For this lesson, we were able to touch on science, reading, writing, and math.  It’s great when you can incorporate lots of different subject areas in one go.  Also, we collaborated throughout the entire experience, honing in on what bees do all the time in their hives.

We read a story about bees. Then we read an informational article on bees. Students wrote down the most important information they got from the article.  I wanted them to get the ideas down in one word, or in small phrases.  That way we could put these words up in our artwork to teach the rest of our community. IMG_2626

Once we wrote down all the words, I typed them up in different fonts to be added to our artwork.

Students had to partner up with another person in class and we worked together to print on 18 x 24 inch construction paper.  I had different colors of paints to choose from, brayers on hand, and lots of texture stamps. My favorite texture is still bubble wrap.  After we printed, students had to work together to trace large hexagon pieces on their papers.  This was a challenge.  You needed to plan out how you were going to lay the hexagon pieces on your paper.  If you laid it down in the middle, only one hexagon piece could be cut, but if you worked together, you could make two.  We saved all the scraps to make smaller hexagons.  Students then drew bees on white copy paper, traced their work with Sharpies, and cut and paste them to their artwork.  Some did very tiny bees, others wanted to make the biggest bee of all – the queen. Some students even colored their bees with chalk.

After students picked out the words they wanted to use in their artwork, they had to work together to put up the hexagon pieces.  If they were cut correctly, they should fit like a puzzle.  Lesson learned for teacher — not all of them were cut correctly. Students did an amazing job climbing up chairs to put the hexagon pieces up though.  TEAMWORK!


The end result is amazing.







I love this display so much, I don’t want to take it down! I love everything about it, from the amount of teamwork, to the pretty prints, to the information.  Hope to do more of these kinds of activities in the future.

Author: Sonia Chapman

I am an art teacher, living in the Middle East, following my passion for art, teaching little children about the finer things in life, and loving every bit of it.

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