Hot Air Balloons



When I decided to let the students choose the topics of our projects this year I was a little concerned that they would all pick the same four or five ideas. Usually when I have asked for ideas before its always been “basketball, football, princesses, or portraits.” They have always gotten stuck on those ideas and when we do have free days that’s what most of them choose to draw.

I was pleasantly surprised this year though. I really stressed that they draw basketball players and princesses all the time and that I wanted them to think differently this year. I got a lot of great choices to pick from for their projects out of it!

One fifth grader was very specific she said she rode in a hot air balloon this summer and thought they were so interesting so I knew I needed to include her idea. The rest of the fifth graders were a little hesitant but once they got started they warmed up to these drawings and as a result we got a lot of great finished products!

For this lesson I showed random samples of standard shaped hot air balloons that I found by just doing a google image search. We talked a little about how they float by using heated air that fills the balloon. A few students even related it to sending up paper lanterns like the do in the movie Tangled.

They traced a plain template for the outline of the balloon then made the vertical stripes. Then we traced with a sharpie. Once the first lines were traced we started on the inside designs. I asked the students to choose between rounded or straight lines. If the lines were rounded they needed to switch directions halfway through the balloon to help it look round. If the lines were straight then I wanted them to make sure they zigzagged each time they touched a vertical line. Then those lines were traced.

We colored them using warm and cool colors with colored pencils. They got to practice making value with colored pencils by changing the pressure of the pencil on the paper. It was a lot of fun but a little time consuming. The baskets were just colored using various shades of brown. In the background students choose the designs then colored with the opposite set of colors.

I love how these turned out and they will be so fun decorating the school come spring time!

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