A Fantastical Animal Study!
A Materials Science Study of Paper!
We read “The Familiars,” a wonderfully fanciful tale of animals that possess great talents and live to serve their human “loyals.”  We were fascinated with the range of special traits these critters employed to meet the challenges they faced on a daring quest.  They were humorous, resourceful, and often inspirational… and showed us that our “ordinary” gifts can become “extraordinarily” important as we choose when and how to use the best qualities we bring to our life adventures.  Each of us used a process to identify a “familiar” that offered us qualities we do not yet possess fully.  (They teach us and we reciprocate by offering them guidance and support in their own times of need!)  It caused us to consider and select animals which were less familiar, animals that perhaps do not draw our attention, or affections, immediately.  We each chose one from our lists and observed the residents at the Oregon Zoo as part of the fact-based research and animal behavior study we completed.

Meanwhile, we created a materials science study, one of paper!  Using regular newspaper, we changed its shape and properties through crumpling, rolling, folding, soaking, twisting, curling, sheeting, layering, and tightly wadding it.  Changing its form meant we could change its application for functional use.  Of course, that also changed its aesthetic value!  We were able to explore its very diverse possibilities for creating armatures for our three-dimensional friends.  Masking tape and a final coat of “muck” helped us finish the structural connections and overall effect.  We painted, added embellishments, and documented our processes through writing (seven paragraph essays for older authors! ) and illustrations.  Each creature was designed to be “wearable” and carry some special token.  Fabulously fantastical familiars posed on our heads, arms, shoulders, around our necks, dangling from collars, peeking out of bags, or perched pricelessly in poses on hats!

Anyone say, “Parade!?”