Julie Steinberg

April 22, 2015
Journal # 11
Exploring Construction & Paper Mache
Response to In-class Exploration
This week we explored collage with 3D objects: construction. I appreciated the choice of
engaging in an objective-oriented exploration or simply playing with the materials, with the only
requirement being that we must find ways to put these materials together. Our exploration very
much matched what Beal (2001) tells children—such as, “‘Choose a few of these and think about
how you might put them together to make…’” or “‘Maybe you just want to make a design with
your boxes and will find some interesting shapes that go together’” (p.164). We were reminded
that as we put materials together, we might get new ideas, which I see happen all the time for
children as they construct using paper, blocks, or other materials. The purpose of the exploration
was simply to explore ways of putting materials together, which can be both inviting and
I found that within construction, shape is very important. As we experienced the opening,
motivating dialogue, I realized how construction is all about figuring out and finding shapes you
would need to create or show something. For example, when we thought about constructing an
animal, we thought about the shapes we would need for each part—and what materials could be
used to make those shapes.. Construction and paper mache can be as simple or as complicated as
you want it to be. This was another exploration with so many possibilities, which gives children
so many opportunities for discovery and creativity.
Beal (2001) described construction not only as engaging and interesting to children, but
also as “serious early play that involves discovering and learning” (p.163). She described how
construction materials instantly capture the interest of children of all ages, as they know they will

get to get their hands on the materials and figure out ways to put them together. Young children
often build without any goal in mind, discovering the properties of the material and learning the
mechanics (Beal, 2001). Beal (2001) says, “It is really the material here that’s teaching the child”
(p.163). I also identified with Beal’s (2001) description of the teachers role within construction,
as it clearly matched the way we engaged with the construction materials in our in-class
exploration. She noted, “I see my job as teaching the children how to use the materials, but not
what to do with them. I want them to come up with their own ideas. And invariably they do”
(Beal, 2001, p.173). Construction allows children to become excited about and connect with their
artwork, to work together, and ultimately, to discover and learn about how what things can
become when joined together.
Curriculum Ideas
Exploring construction this week, with my group’s story show in mind, once again
brought forth a strong connection between narrative and art. My group members and I began
building elements of our story—the setting, the characters, and props to show the details and
events of our stories. As we explored construction in this way, I thought about what a great
activity this would be for children, to create a story and work together to construct it, choosing
shapes and materials to express story elements and ideas. The objective of the activity would be
that through construction, paper mache and other materials of choice, students will learn how to
select and construct shapes to create the story elements of setting, characters, details and events,
to tell a story.
Beal, N. (2001). The Art of Teaching Art to Children in School and at Home. New York: Farrar,
Straus and Giroux.