Almost every child has seen a gum ball machine at the exit of a supermarket. The location of these machines and the colorful array of gum balls within entices consumers into purchasing them with loose change leftover from shopping.
I asked my first grade students to design a gum ball machine based upon their observations of these machines in our culture and upon one artist's appealing interpretation.
Thiebaud's Tempting Treats
Like most artists, Wayne Thiebaud worked in themes. One theme included a series of gum ball machines. Viewing Penny Machines, law Breaker Machine (Bubble Gum Machine) and Candy Ball Machine heightened my students, interest in the marketing of a product that most people don't set out to buy. The students began to appreciate the marketing of gum balls and discussed how Thiebaud painted these machines to remind the viewer of the temptation of the gum ball machine.
After presenting examples of Thiebaud's work along with two gum ball machines that I brought in, I asked the students to create their own gum ball machines.
To simulate the glass bubble of the gum ball machine, the students glued their colored 8" (20 cm) paper plate onto the 12 x 18" (31 x 46 cm) sheet of white paper. After studying Thiebaud's paintings and the gum ball machines, the students designed the base of their machines to lure prospective consumers.
Creating the Candy
Gum ball machines are usually filled with a …