National Curriculum Sculpture

This page contains resources and advice relating to developing National Curriculum sculpture in primary schools

National Curriulum Sculpture

AccessArt advocates:

  • Sculpture = Making. NOT designing on paper first! Many schools teach children to work on paper to “design” a building, a textile, a model etc, without children having any kind of understanding of the properties and abilities of the materials they might use, or experience of manipulating these materials. Instead we advocate Design through Making – a simple process much more akin to the way creative adults work, in which children work with materials and techniques from the outset to make sculpture.
  • That sculpture is about more than clay! Sculpture is made out of every material imaginable. Sculpture can be made through an additive process (construction) or a through taking away (carving). Sculpture can be conceptual (about ideas). making sculpture is about working with materials and processes, in space, to communicate intention.
  • Use Sketchbooks as a Creative Tool. The sketchbooks should be owned by the pupils, and should be at the centre of the pupils’ creativity. Sketchbooks can be used to gather, collect, experiment and reflect. Teachers should not be afraid if sketchbooks seem chaotic – adult sketchbooks are often chaotic – they are a place to put unresolved ideas into the world, which can be assimiliated later. Sketchbooks are rarely linear. Explore all our sketchbook resources here.
  • Schools should work to provide access to adequate tools and materials. In our experience many pupils would benefit from time invested in practising using tools, including scissors, glue guns, pliers, saws, hammers etc and alongside these tools have access to a wide variety of sculptural materials (wire, cardboard, paper, modroc, clay, fabric, found objects etc). See also Using Tools resources.
  • That schools make full use of local and national museums and arts organisations to discover historical and contemporary sculptors. Less reliance should be made on old favourites and pupils should be encouraged to explore the work of contemporary (and female!) sculptors in addition to old favourites.

Back to Curriculum Planning for Art

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AccessArt Resources to Support Sculpture

AccessArt is an evolving collection of resources and further resources are being added over time. Please register with AccessArt to receive updates.


Making Sculpture with Modroc

Making armatures to cover in modroc to make modroc sculptures.

Sculptural Shoes

Building a sculptural shoe around old shoes, using modroc and paint.

Making a Sculptural Mask

Making a sculptural mask using modroc. Can be adapted for creating costumes for plays or performances, or historical events.

Exploring vessels and pattern

Combines drawing and making. Children build vessles from modroc by casting against small balloons, and then make patterned paper to cover the sculptures.

Drawing and Making Flowers

Combines drawing and making. Children gather information about flower forms through drawing and then explore manipulating paper into three dimensional forms. Use to create a whole school ‘garden”.

Making Insects with Wire

Using wire and mixed media (fabric, beads etc) to create minibeasts and bugs! Excellent session for enabling children to manipulate materials and explore how sculpture stands.

Making a Carnival Mask

Making a carnival mask from card and decorating it with a variety of materials.

Working with Withies: Flying Sculpture

Using withies (willow sticks) as a construction material to make hanging sculptures. Excellent for exploring manipulation of materials and working with balance.

Sculptural Thinking

What do “sculptural thoughts” look like? Giving children the freedom to explore materials in their own time and space results in real, sculptural thinking.

Making Polar Bears

Drawing first, sculpture second. Making polar bears from newspaper, plastic and modroc.

Making Textured Tessellations

Using clay to explore pattern

What can making Sculpture Teach us about Drawing?

Using card, sticks and wire to make geomteric sculptures which are intentionally thrown off-balance to make them more interesting. Encourages risk-taking!

Making a Sculptural Construction Material

Using modroc and paper to make a material with which you can then construct. Great for exploring materials and thinking in three-dimensions.

Fish Sculptures

Making an armature from plastic bags and tape, and using modroc and collage to make fish sculptures

Making a Sculptural Feast

Great project for creating a communal sculpture to celebrate an event. Uses modroc, fabric, card and other found materials to make a sculptural feast.

Making Mummies and Sarcophagi

Make a clay “mummy” and take a modroc “cast” to create the sarcophagus. Helps children understand notions of positive/negative, cast/mould. Opportunities for decorative work.

Sculpture Chain

Flash-based module which introduces children to the idea of the Sculpture Chain, in which everyday objects are transfromed into sculpture. Introduces basic sculpture notions about form, transformation of materials, intention etc. excellent social project.

Making Sculptural Birds

Combines drawing and making. Children explore mark-making to create feather-inspired paper, and then use this, and foamboard and wire, to make a bird.

How to make a Mask from Sticks and Tissue Paper

Using found sticks to make an armature, and tissue paper to join and decorate. This session helps children appropriate found materials and helps them “look” for shapes and forms to make their sculpture.

Working with Withies

Introducing withies (willow sticks) – an excellent material with whcih to make sculpture.

Thinking Three Dimensionally with Cardboard

What can you make using only cardboard? Working on a small, manageable scale, corrudgated cardboard is a greta material to enable a sculptural exploration

Be an Architect

Sculptural houses made from a variety of construction materials.

Icebergs for Polar Bears

Making icebergs for the polar bears – turning sculpture into installation art. Excellent construction project.

Clay Beast Heads

Building with clay to create mythical beasts.

Glow in the Dark Sculptures

Making construction based sculptures using smart materials which glow in the dark! Sculptures with two very different states!
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