Slot Sculpture – A lesson plan

Robert Hudson, Outrigger, 1983-1984. Enamel on steel, cast iron and
antlers, Crocker Art Museum Purchase, with funds from McCuen &
Steele, Inc.

Robert Hudson, Outrigger, 1983-1984. Enamel on steel, cast iron and antlers, Crocker Art Museum Purchase, with funds from McCuen & Steele, Inc.

About the artist:

Robert Hudson studied at San Francisco during the early 1960’s, a period when the second wave of Abstract Expressionism and Bay Area Figuration dominated the curriculum. In his work, Hudson adds found objects, such as the distinctive antlers, creating seemingly irrational sculptures. Symmetry is avoided, and the sense of instability intentional.


Students will know the difference between geometric and organic shapes. Students will know the difference between symmetrical balance and asymmetrical balance. Students will be able to create a balanced sculpture that stands on its own using a mix of geometric and organic shapes.
Students will be able to describe shapes and balance in the artwork and their creations.

-Sculpture: A three-dimensional artwork. A wide variety of materials may be worked by removal such as carving, assembled by welding or modeling molded/castes.
-Geometric: Characterized by or decorated with regular lines and shapes. ex.) squares, rectangles, squares, octagons, etc.
-Organic: Irregular or asymmetrical in appearance and tend to have curvy flow to them. ex.) clouds, leaves, flowers, blobs, etc.
-Symmetrical: Refers to balance that is achieved by arranging elements on either side of the center of a composition in an equally weighted manner.
-Asymmetrical: Refers to balance that is unequal visual weight on each side of the composition.
– Balance: is the distribution of the visual weight of objects, colors, texture, and space.


Take a moment to observe this artwork and describe what you see:
● What kind of shapes do you see? Does the artist use geometric
or organic shapes?
● Describe the artist’s use of color. What colors have been used?
● Is the composition balanced?
● What words would you use to describe the artwork?
• Explore what balance means.
• Discuss symmetric vs asymmetric balance.
• Discuss the use of shapes, forms, color and balance in artwork.

Part 1: Students will be creating a slot sculpture.
1. Select at least 3 pieces of cardstock
2. Cut them to make a mix of geometric and organic shapes.
3. Use markers to decorate your shapes with color and pattern.
4. Cut thin, perpendicular slots around the edges of your shapes.
5. Build a sculpture by fitting the slots together. Add more shapes if time allows and/or explore different ways to balance your sculpture.

Part 2: Check In. Reflect and build another.
1. Group discussion/reflection. How many different configurations, or compositions, can you make?
2. Can you make your sculpture balance?
3. How can you demonstrate symmetry? Asymmetry?
4. How are the Elements of Art represented in your sculpture?

Part 3: Build another sculpture channeling what you learned from your first experience

a. 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.
b. Class and/or table group discussion. What did we learn? What was challenging? What felt familiar? Shout-outs to helpful neighbors?
c. “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.

Adaptations and Extensions
Visit the Crocker Art Museum’s website  to view other works of art and get inspiration for your project.
Smithsonian American Art Museum also has pieces of Hudson’s work on display

Kids Create: watch a Crocker educator create a slot sculpture




Visual Arts

Creating—Anchor Standard 2: Organize and Develop Artistic Ideas and Work

Creating- Anchor Standard 2: Organize and Develop Artistic Ideas and Work

PK.VA:Cr2.1 Use a variety of art-making tools

K.VA:Cr2.1 Through experimentation, build skills in various media and approaches to artmaking

1.VA:Cr2.1 Explore uses of materials and tools to create works of art or design

2.VA:Cr2.1 Experiment with various materials and tools to explore personal interests in a work of art or design

3.VA:Cr2.1 Create personally satisfying artwork using a variety of artistic processes and materials

4.VA:Cr2.1 Explore and invent art-making techniques and approaches

5.VA:Cr2.1 Experiment and develop skills in multiple art-making techniques and approaches through practice

Creating—Anchor Standard 3: Refine and Complete Artistic Work


Kinder: K.G.2 Correctly name shapes regardless of their orientations or overall size; K.G.3 Identify shapes as two-dimensional (lying in a plane, “flat”) or three-dimensional (“solid”).

2nd grade: (with math integration extension) 2.G.1 Recognize and draw shapes having specified attributes, such as a given number of angles or a given number of equal faces


Kinder-2nd grade: Because there is always more than one possible solution to a problem, it is useful to compare and test designs. (K–2-ETS1-3)



  • Thick paper or cardboard as base
  • Scissors
  • Colored cardstock paper
  • Markers


60 minutes

Grade Level



  • Visual Arts


  • Sculpture


  • Colors
  • Sculpture