Project: Tree of Life
Participants: Year 3 pupils
Partnering with: Batley Parish JI&N
Artist: Shelley Burgoyne
Science topic: Plant Lifecycles

Our topic is Plants – Life Cycle and Requirements for Life. We will be focussing on the life cycle of plants and the continuously changing anatomy of plants, and investigating what plants are made of and what the function of each part is. Before the project starts we will grow plants in the classroom ready to use as a resource for dissecting and looking at the parts of a plant’s anatomy. Our growing plant collections will be used as a resource for observational drawings and learning about the variety of plant life. We will make drawings of the different stages of growth and develop these with relief printmaking techniques. The whole class will be contributing to a series of images which will eventually form a large ‘tree structure’ of all the different parts of plant anatomy.

Session Images

Session 1: 10th February 2016

Our classroom looks like a jungle at the moment as we have plants growing everywhere! We have all been preparing quite a bit in our science sessions before we started working on our Change project today. We told Shelley lots about what we have learnt and also did a quiz. We started with some really detailed drawings and looking through magnifiers at the different parts that make up a plant. Our collection of plants is very varied and some have grown huge. We also did some drawing of very tiny plants. We started to make small books separating out all the plant parts onto different pages. What an exciting afternoon!

“I enjoyed being with the artist today and it was a different kind of research not using a computer. We cut parts of the plants open and dissected them. We cut open fruits and flowers and stems”

“I enjoyed analysing what we were looking at and I really loved using a magnifier and looking inside things”

“The cress shoots were very tiny, and I loved drawing the raspberries as well eating them”

“I liked investigating the seeds and plant parts with our drawings”

Session 2: 24th February 2016

Today we started to learn about printmaking. We have used a detail of our plant drawings from our concertina books and made another drawing onto a piece of Polyblock. It took time to make the detail with the pen. We all loved inking the Polyblock and making our first ever prints. In the other part of the session we spent more time using the magnifiers and developing our drawings of roots, stems, shoots, leaves, buds and flowers. Last week we had spent time looking at the inside of a bulb. It was interesting this week to dissect the flowers and find out what was inside those. They are really different and have a different function as part of the life cycle of the whole plant.

“Today we were doing some art. We did two types of things, drawing and printing. I really enjoyed the printing, it was very creative. We were using rollers and printing with ink. It was fun”

“We have been doing more drawings of plant parts in our concertina books as well as making some very colourful flower drawings”

“We used the magnifiers again. We took the little flowers to pieces so that we could look inside and see the stamens and the pollen”

“I loved drawing the petals of the flower and the other plant parts. Our art lesson is interesting with science in it as well”

Session 3: 2nd March 2016

We have worked in our small concertina books with very detailed drawings of the plant parts. Our drawings are long and tall. This session was quite hard as we have also been drawing our images very large onto the Polyblock printing surface. It was difficult to know how they would look but Shelley did a demonstration so we understood. Last week we printed with colour so this result was very different. The plants now look big, tall and very bold. The prints looked very dramatic all laid out on the floor together. We were all excited about the results. Next week we will complete our printing and do a second print using the same printing block. Steve from Cummins came to work with us and he was really helpful with our drawings and encouraged us lots.

“Today we did a fun art session. We did printmaking and drawing. We used rollers and ink to make the prints. I enjoyed the work I have done but mostly the printmaking because it was an interesting activity”

“I challenged myself by drawing the flower bigger, we drew life cycles and used Polyblock to print. I enjoyed it all very much”

“I really liked the part when we went over the pencil and then used pen. It was hard but worth it when we saw the results”

“I loved using the colouring pencils to draw the lifecycle image on the front of my concertina book”

Session 4: 9th March 2016

This was a busy session. We all completed drawings in our little concertina books and produced some really wonderful colour work. We had to try and be as detailed as possible and look carefully. It was surprising how good our drawings looked, and good to see how our drawing skills and confidence with drawing have changed during the project. We also printed our large plant prints – this was the most exciting thing to do. After we had printed our Polyblock pieces we needed to clean them and that did get a bit messy but we managed really well. We have made about 40 prints altogether as some of us had time to print two. We made two versions as we also cut out the Polyblock image, so some of the big flower prints are on a black background and some are on a white background as well.   We all agree that our final prints look stunning, wonderful, amazing, marvellous and magnificent. The great thing about this project has been learning the science of plant anatomy along with making art. We have also learnt about printmaking, and we have learnt to look in detail and use magnifiers for our drawings. Our science work has been brought to life in a new way.   We did a quiz at the end of this last session to check out our knowledge. One really big word that is very important to remember about plants is ‘Photosynthesis’!   Shelley says we all worked very hard, and we’re all looking forward to seeing our work displayed at the gallery.

“In today’s session I did some cutting. We had to use scissors and cut the Polyblock shape and it was hard. We did some cool pictures of flowers. What I enjoyed most was the drawing which was really fun and interesting. At the end the prints looked fabulous!”

“I really enjoyed doing the printmaking because it was really creative”

“I loved the last task. This was the best session too. The final prints look awesome! I also enjoyed drawing poppies and tulips”

“I loved inking my large print picture with the roller. This was very fun as I didn’t know how it would look until I took the paper off”