I have been teaching some classes for 4th grade and their teacher asked me if I could do something to coincide with their 3 day Coloma, CA field trip. Since they are primarily studying the gold rush while there I came up with a printmaking activity that might be fun for any teacher studying the Gold Rush.
Since Printmaking was the primary form of communication during the 1800's I thought a printmaking activity would be a good fit, but it could be a sketching activity as well. I am going to talk to them about how newspapers and posters were the way people received information during this time, and artists needed to use printmaking techniques to create illustrations for the newspapers etc...
I have the card stock already printed with the wording because the words print backwards. The students will be doing the image in the center.
I am going to give them the outline of the miner to trace onto foam that I cut from foam disposable plates. (This is so much easier than lino or wood cuts.) Then I'll demonstrate how the outline gives you clues as to where to put the interior lines. Wherever they draw creates a white line, wherever they don't prints black.
Here is the pattern sheet to print onto card stock:
I am going to talk about pattern and how they need to create a few patterns in their drawing on the foam (mustache, hat band, pan, water, edges). This makes their design more interesting.
Once they have their completed design they'll ink it (Speedball block printing ink) and print it, carefully putting pressure everywhere to get a nice even print.
When it is dry they can add a little bit of mod podge or glue to the nugget in the pan then put some gold glitter on the nugget, just for fun.
A great project to mix history and Art!