This 2 day project has become a much anticipated staple in my 5th grade classroom. It’s short but sweet with excellent results. During the first class, I introduce the artist. Students have about 20 minutes to create and photograph their drawings. During the second class, we use Photoshop to edit the images.
I start by using this Prezi to explore a few images and materials used by Vik Muniz. One of the Prezi slides includes the trailer to his documentary Wasteland. If you have not seen this movie, please add it to your must see list! The final slide shows his chocolate version of a famous Jackson Pollock photograph. I then explain that “today we are going to create pictures of chocolate.”
I’ve taken a few liberties with this project in order to add color. Instead of drawing on paper, I ask students to gently clap a piece of tin foil between their hands to give it texture. We use 4 oz. squeeze bottles filled with store brand chocolate syrup to create the drawings.
When students are ready for the cameras/iPads, they use 2 folded 12 x 18 sheets of construction paper to reflect color onto the tinfoil. Students are asked to take photos from different angles so that they have choices when it comes time to edit it them.
During the second class, students are given a VERY brief introduction to Adobe Photoshop. They are shown how to crop, change color saturation, and add filters. If you aren’t familiar with Photoshop, there are many easier ways to edit photos with iPad apps. In my current school, the only way I can have 20+ students edit at the same time is by using the laptop cart…which is already loaded with Photoshop 🙂
Yes, of COURSE they are going to want to eat the chocolate! I am very clear about expectations before we start and have had very few problems. I warn them ahead of time that under no circumstances are they to quirt the chocolate directly into their mouths (yes, you have to say it out loud). Once they are finished with the camera they are allowed to use ONE FINGER to taste the chocolate before folding up the tin foil and throwing it away. I also make them turn in their chocolate bottle and wash their hands before touching the cameras.
Learn more about the artist:
If you can get your hands on a reasonably priced version, Vik Muniz: Reflex is an excellent book.