Model Magic Sculpture- A lesson plan

Akinsanya Kambon (American, born 1946), John Randall, Buffalo Soldier, n.d. Raku-fired clay, 15 1/2 x 4 x 9 1/2 in. Crocker Art Museum, long-term loan from S. Tama-sha Ross Kambon and Akinsanya D. Kambon aka Mark Teemer


Students will analyze the elements of art seen in sculptures, paintings, and every day objects. Students will create a plan for their project and sketch their idea. Then, they will transform the sketch into a 3D form using clay.



Elements of Art – Building blocks artists use to create their works of art. Elements include line, color, shape/form, texture, value and space.

Shape– an enclosed space defined by other elements of art. Shapes may take on the appearance of two- or three-dimensional objects.

Form– an element of art that is three-dimensional and encloses volume. Cubes, spheres, and cylinders are examples of various forms.




Discuss the Elements of Art poster.

Artists use shapes when drawing or painting to create the images they desire. We learn about shapes in math, we see shapes everywhere. What are some names of shapes you know? What are shapes that are difficult to draw? What are shapes that are easy to draw? What shapes make up your favorite animal, food, place, or thing?

Share Akinsanya Kambon’s ceramic works

What shapes do you see?

Today, we will be planning our art process by creating a sketch of our idea. Then, we will transform our sketch into a 3D form using clay.



Part 1: Brainstorm. What to create?

  1. Distribute paper and pencils.
  2. Allow students time to brainstorm ideas for what they’d like to create with their clay. What shapes can you make with clay? Are those shapes seen on a dinosaur? Will you create a dinosaur today?

Part 2: Sculpt

  1. Distribute 1 clay pack per student. Explain that the clay might be hard at first. Rub in hands to make it malleable.
  2. Using a sample or the idea that the students came up with take the shapes you drew and turn them into 3-d forms. For example, a circle becomes a sphere for the head. For the tail or legs, I might roll the model magic to create a snake-like form.
  3. Students create a sculpture of their choice
  4. Markers can be used to color the clay


  1. Clean up. Ask students to clean up and return all materials. Their artwork should remain at their desk for the “gallery walk” to conclude the lesson.
  2. Class and/or table group discussion. What did we learn? What was challenging? What felt familiar? Shoutouts to helpful neighbors?
  3. “Gallery walk”. Students will leave their artwork at their desk to be previewed by their classmates. (If they do not want to share, offer to turn over work). Invite students to line up behind you with their arms behind their backs. Discuss museum manners (hands to self, positive remarks). Slowly “snake” around the table groups so students may view the work of their peers.


  • Open the clay packages ahead of time
  • Separate clay and color with markers so students have colored clay to work with
  • Place objects on table groups to inspire students creativity



K.VA:cr1.1 Engage in exploration and imaginative play with various art materials

1.VA:Cr1.1 Engage collaboratively in exploration and imaginative play with various arts materials

2.VA:Cr1.1 Brainstorm to generate multiple approaches to an art or design problem

3.VA:Cr1.1 Elaborate on an imaginative idea

4.VA:Cr1.2 Collaboratively set goals and create artwork that is meaningful and has purpose to the makers

5.VA:Cr2.2 Demonstrate quality craftsmanship through care for and use of materials, tools, and equipment.

6.VA:Cr2.1 Demonstrate openness in trying new ideas, materials, methods, and approaches in making works of art and design.




Student work example:



References from the Crocker collection:


The Young Potter, 1986.

Bronze, 31 1/4 x 14 1/2 x 10 3/4 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of Robert G. West and Martha G. West, 2005.70.2.


Akinsanya Kambon (American, born 1946)

Raku-fired clay, 16 1/2 x 5 1/4 x 10 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of S. Tama-sha Ross Kambon and Akinsanya D. Kambon aka Mark Teemer, 2018.5.


Erika Sanada (Japanese, born 1987)

Ceramic with cold finish, 12 x 10 x 11 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of Modern Eden Gallery, 2019.30. Photo courtesy of Calvin Ma.


  • Pencils
  • Scratch paper for sketching ideas
  • Model Magic (white) - One 1oz bag per student
  • Markers
  • Elements of Art poster


60 minutes

Grade Level



  • Visual Arts


  • Art Elements
  • Black Artists
  • Local Artists
  • Shape / Form
  • Simple


  • Clay
  • Paper
  • Pencil


Crocker Art Museum, adapted by Brittany Thurman