Par for the Course: Students Design Their Miniature Golf Course Sculptures While Considering Functional, Technical, and Communication Elements

By Vassil, Darlene | School Arts, May-June 2005 | Go to article overview

Par for the Course: Students Design Their Miniature Golf Course Sculptures While Considering Functional, Technical, and Communication Elements


Vassil, Darlene, School Arts


Designing an eighteen-hole miniature-golf course is not the typical end-of-the-year art project, but at Winfield School it's "par for the course." Students anxiously count the days to the first day of miniature golf, courtesy of the sixth-grade art classes.

Students approach the designing of their miniature-golf-course sculptures by considering the following ideas:

Functional

* Tunnel and decorative sculpture are joined as a single piece.

* Easy to transport. Entire sculpture can be carried by one person.

* Structure of armature is strong, upright, and balanced.

* Golf ball has enough room to move through the tunnel/hole unobstructed.

* No ramps.

* Outdoor elements (wind, uneven pavement) are considered.

Technical

* Armature is an appropriate size and strong enough to support papier-mache.

* Layers of papier-mache are built up to create a durable structure.

* No loose, shaking, or breakable parts. Entire piece is well-crafted.

* Papier-mache application is smooth and even.

* Final layer provides a ready-to-paint surface.

* Painting and decorative details are attractive.

Communication

* The idea is clear and identifiable.

* Idea has visual appeal for audience.

* Elements have visual appeal for intended audience.

* Finished product implies fun.

Countdown to Mini-Golf Day

Day 6: I demonstrate the process of papier-mache sculpture and the use of recyclable household items for armatures: boxes, baskets, plastic bottles, etc. Teams of four or five students brainstorm ideas and plan armatures for their golf-course sculptures.

Day 5: Students bring in found materials for armatures and make final decisions on the designs for their sculptures. Each team is given a cardboard mailing tube that will serve as a tunnel through the sculpture for the golf ball to pass through. In some cases, the tube can be split in half lengthwise to form a gutter rather than a tunnel. …

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