Friday, April 9, 2010

School Mural Project: Plywood Squares Aplenty

Our mural for the science lab at my kids' elementary school is taking form! As I mentioned before, besides making something cool to look at, we also want to:
- Involve as many kids as possible in painting the mural
- Break it down into manageable pieces that can be easily handled
- Use paints that will last and varnish the heck out of it
- Show tons of science concepts and terms

The sketch we're working from looks like this:

It's a variation on the "powers of ten" concept. We work our way from DNA on the left to space on the right. It will be five panels, of 4 by 8 feet each. Each block is a 1-foot square.

Another parent took on the big job of cutting plywood squares (it's 1-inch thick plywood) and priming them, then I rolled them home in our red wagon. Each one of these will make up one square of the grid. This way, kids can take them and paint them without having to crawl over one another - and they can feel ownership of their square. It's part mural, part mosaic.

I've got the squares for the first panel laid out, ready for the line art of DNA/cell stomata (I'm also going to number/letter them all so we know where they go). They look like this:

Once I've got the line art and numbering on there, we'll enlist some students to put little dots of paint in the various spaces to show what should be painted what color. Then the kids can have at it!

I'm tempted to expand the space dedicated to the DNA to 4 squares tall rather than just the two in the sketch - I think it would look better.

We're using mural paint for this rather than exterior paint - we considered recycling house paint but it just wasn't going to look as vibrant. And since I walk through the Mission in SF all the time, I'm very biased toward vibrant! We've been referring to this cool site about the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia. They even talk about what paints and varnishes they use. And, there's tons of inspiration there.

So, time to get out the pencil and Sharpie I think... and draw some DNA!

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