Form, Function, and Fantastical Play

First Graders Minpin creative Art Project

Inspired by Roald Dahl’s book, The Minpins, first graders created their very own Minpin tree houses in art class. Art instructors, Evy and Tyler, used the book as a springboard and tool to teach students about creating a 3-dimensional space. Students worked with recycled and reused materials, and they had to think about scale and perspective, as well as apply skills learned from the past two years, such as color theory and foreground, middle ground, and background. Form followed function. How big is the door as it relates to the walls? How can the door attach and still function? Students had to consider architectural support. How does something stay in place and support weight? How can you work with multiple kinds of materials successfully without the structure simply falling apart?

The project brings to it a combination of the fantastical and the practical. First graders listened to the story, engaged their imagination, and then used elements from the story as inspiration for creating their own tree houses. While Roald Dahl’s story is very fantastical, the building of the structure is very practical. How do you make it work? How do you get from one floor to another - is it a ladder, is it a zipline, or is a bird like in the story? Lastly, how is your imaginary space going to be utilized?

A synopsis of the Roald Dahl story can be found on Wikipedia here.

First graders talk about their project in this video.