Clay Pizza!- Preschool Lesson

Experiential learning is important for preschoolers.

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They are just learning to identify shapes, letters, words, and to ways to articulate their thoughts and experiences. Investigating tactile materials and various forms of mark making is really important for this age group, as they develop fine motor skills, interact with their environment, and learn that they have the power to act upon it. You will be surprised how much students will remember this project and look forward to the glazing process. In our particular program, the  bisque firing process was staggered. Students have been asking each week when they will be able to paint their pizzas.
Tapping into student interests is essential if we are to reach students and promote healthy lifestyles. It is so important to empower children by promoting more opportunities to make decisions  (ex: eating, behavior, artistic expression)  at an early age, to foster confident, self-aware citizens of tomorrow!

Description:

Students will identify and create shapes, as they create a pizza slice. This projects helps students unite observation, concepts, material manipulation, and visual-kinesthetic motor skills. Lesson can incorporate how to make a pizza healthier by adding vegetables.

Author: Sarah Gregory and Nicole Giusti

Grade Level or Target Range : 3-5

Vocabulary : Shape, Texture

Materials: 
Clay
Drop Cloth
Wooden cutting tools 

Glazing: 
Various colored glazes. 
Plastic containers for glaze. 
Sponges or brushes to apply glaze. 

Glaze Alternative: 
Fired clay can also be painted with acrylic paint.
Prep
Spread a drop cloth on the table. 
Roll a fist-sized amount of clay into a ball. 
Knead out air bubbles.
Demo/ Directions:
1 Spread a drop cloth on the table to keep the area clean and to keep clay from sticking to the table. 

2 Begin with a fist sized ball of clay. 
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3 Knead it to remove any air bubbles within the clay. 

4 Roll clay into a ball, and then press on it to flatten it. 

5 Use a rolling pin to flatten clay to about 1/4" thick. 
  (I tell kids the clay should not be thinner than their pinky). 

6 Take a moment to discuss what shape they have right now 
  (should be a circle or oval)

7 Introduce the idea of a triangle. 
  "How many sides does a triangle have?" 
  "Can you count them with me?"
  "Can you tell me some things that are triangles?" 

8 Demonstrate how to pinch or cut the flattened circle into a triangle.If students need help, trace a triangle on their clay piece and have them cut it.
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9 Ask students what toppings go  on a pizza. What toppings do they know? What toppings do they like? What are some healthy toppings they could add? (you will often be surprised by what they already know, encourage them!)

10 Demonstrate to students how to pinch a crust or attach a coil to the triangle to function as a crust. 
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11 Give each student another small chunk of clay and ask them to make any toppings they would like for their pizza! Teach students to score toppings and use slip to attach topping pieces to the pizza slice. 
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Once it is bisque fired, students can then glaze it accordingly.

Bisque Fire Tiles

Glazing:

After pieces have been bisque fired they are ready to glaze. 
Prep:
Pour selected glaze colors into plastic containers. 
   (We suggest reusing old yogurt containers and other recyclables)

Spread a drop cloth to contain any mess. 
Have students wear a smock or apron, and roll up any long sleeves. 

Apply Glaze: 

Use sponges, paintbrushes, or stamps to apply glaze to the tops of the pizzas. 

The same stamps can be used again and you can discuss how the same stamps create a different effect now that the clay is hard. 

(Don't apply glaze to the back, this will make pieces stick to the shelf in the kiln, if possible apply a wax resist before glazing).

Project Extensions:
1- Holes can be poked in the pizza slices; once they are fired they can be turned into wall hangings.

2- Pizza slices can be turned into ornaments.

3- If you have the resources, multiple tiles can be made to create a mural, tile a table, or create coasters.

4- This project can be adjusted according to season and occasion.

5- Pizza slices could  make great gifts, memories, are fun to make, and allow students to tie visual and kinesthetic experiences.

Group Setting:
Put pizza slices together to create a whole pie! Create a class discussion. Have a mock pizza party, preschoolers love to pretend!

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