Monday, June 6, 2011

a "galimoto" art lesson plan

Front, side and back views of my galimoto.
Grade Levels: 4th-6th graders
Topic: Recycling, Environmental Themes in Art, Contemporary African Culture
Goals & Objectives:
  1. Students will learn about the nature of recycling through the telling of a story about a small African boy who builds his own toys from the materials he asks his relatives for in the village where he lives.
  2. The goal of this project is to introduce 4-6 graders to environmental themes and contemporary African culture. Through the classroom discussions stimulated by “Galimoto’s Game,” students will make comparisons between what they are capable of manufacturing themselves to what children in Africa produce from similar reusable materials.
  3. This unit is designed to serve as a precursor to many future activities in the classroom. It is a playful introductory exercise. Students should not be expected to craft excellent studio projects. They should explore, cut, paste, and tear apart the supplies. During this session they are learning to manipulate materials that they will use with greater aptitude in future art projects.
  4. Manipulating 3-dimensional objects takes a host of experiences in order to establish confidence in young students. This exercise will also prepare students to think about how they may proceed to develop sculpture in future classroom experiences.
  5. It is important for American students to draw analogies between themselves and students of different countries and communities of different ethnic/cultural diversity. This helps them to comprehend that they live in a global community where they must adapt to the differences between themselves and others in order to peacefully occupy the same planet and indeed the very same neighborhoods. This simple lesson in culture teaches students that they have similar interests to children of their own age in a country far away. It develops in students a greater understanding of a common identity and purpose. 
National Arts Standards: Visual Arts (5-8 grade) - Content Standard 4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures.
Achievement Standard -
  • Students know and compare the characteristics of artworks in various eras and cultures
  • Students describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts
  • Students analyze, describe, and demonstrate how factors of time and place (such as climate, resources, ideas, and technology) influence visual characteristics that give meaning and value to a work of art
Show-Me Standards for Missouri Schools: In Fine Arts, students in Missouri public schools will acquire a solid foundation which includes knowledge of
  1. process and techniques for the production, exhibition or performance of one or more of the visual or performed arts
  2. the principles and elements of different art forms 

  3. the vocabulary to explain perceptions about and evaluations of works in dance, music, theater and visual arts
GLEs - Strand I: Product/Performance – Select and apply three-dimensional media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas and solve challenging visual art problems for Sculpture, Ceramics or other media.
Sculpture, Ceramics, Other Media
·      Combine simple forms to create a complex object/form (in-the-round)
Strand I: Product/Performance - Communicate ideas about subject matter and themes in artworks created for various purposes.
Create an original artwork that communicates ideas about
  • The Environment
  • Functions of Art in Culture
  • Personal Identity
Strand III : Artistic Perceptions – Investigate the nature of art and discuss responses to artworks
Discuss and develop answers to questions about art, such as: Who decides what makes an artwork special, valuable or good?
Length of Class Period: 55 min.
Frequency of Class Period: once a week
Time Needed: three class periods
Facility & Equipment Requirements:
  • One computer lap top
  • Room with good lighting
  • Large tables, approximately ten, each seating four students
  • Two sinks
  • Dry erase board
  • Drying racks
  • Cabinets for storage
  • Projector for viewing computer video, CDs and DVDs
"Galimoto" by Karen Lynn Williams.
Education Resources Needed:
  • “Galimoto” by Karen Williams
  • 5-6 Question Sheets for village captains
  • “Toys and Tales with Everyday Materials” (Spiralbound) by Sudarshan Khanna and Gita Wolf by Tara Publishing. This book is not necessary for this particular assignment. It compliments the unit. In it teachers will find a host of simpler toys that younger students can make for this unit instead of manipulating a more elaborate toy from the materials that we have suggested. In other words, the toys described in this volume will work for K-3.
Materials Needed:
  1. Masking tapes (one role for every two students)
  2. Elmer’s school glue (one bottle for every two students)
  3. Variety of bright tissue papers (many colors, two or three sheets per student)
  4. Newsprint/Newspaper (approximately four Sunday papers)
  5. Scissors (one pair per student)
  6. wire/pipe-cleaners (wire for much older students, pipe-cleaners for younger students – ten or twelve stems)
  7. plastic mesh (Children use chicken wire in Africa but I have chosen to use plastic mesh from Home Depot to eliminate some cuts and pricks!)
  8. foil (two roles of aluminum foil per class of 30 students)
  9. cardstock or old cardboard (one to two cereal or cracker boxes per student)
Vocabulary Words & Definitions:
  1. cooperation – the practice of working with someone else peacefully
  2. environmental – relating to the surroundings
  3. recycle the act of processing used or abandoned materials for use in creating new products
  4. “Galimoto” – means "car" in Chichewa
  5. persistence- continuance of an effect
  6. sculpture- the art or practice of shaping figures or designs
  7. resourceful-  able to act effectively or imaginatively especially in difficult situations
  8. compromise- a settlement of differences
  9. found materials- scraps found and used in unconventional ways
  10. design- organization or structure of formal elements in a work of art
Motivation – Looking and Talking Activity: The students will be introduced to the projects unique object through the reading of the book “Galimoto” During this reading they will be seated to the front of the classroom so that every student may see the pictures and hear the instructor’s voice properly. This particular book describes “how” a galimoto is made by a small boy named Kondi. Then the class will play the Galimoto Game. This game helps them gather their art supplies in such a way as to reinforce the actions of Kondi in the storybook.
Class Discussion: “A Galimoto Game” This game combines topically relevant questions with the acquisition of supplies. Create around your art classroom five small stations (village homes) where each child must visit in order to acquire a different recyclable for this art project. We have chosen the five items listed below for our project. Teachers may choose different items according to whatever supplies they may have at their disposal.
      Assign five students (village captains or relatives) from your class to be in charge of each station. Each of these five students must ask a question(s) from the list below of every student remaining in the classroom. Encourage the students to be thoughtful in their answers. When the visiting student has answered the question he may then collect his or her alloted portion of the recycled material from each station. Students should answer a total of five questions at five different stations in order to accumulate the resources needed to construct their toys. After the students have collected their supplies, each person may then return to his or her desk and begin the studio project. Tools such as: scissors, markers, rulers etc.. will already be made available at each table in the art classroom.
      Questions for constructed response assessment should be printed and distributed to every student in charge of supply stations. Teachers may wish to give only one or two of these to each game captain/relative. Print the list or parts of it prior to the discussion and bring it with you to class. Teachers will need to hand out as many lists as there are team captains.
  1. Why did Kondi need to go to so many different people in order to find the supplies he needed to make his toy with?
  2. If you were going to make a toy at home, what kinds of recyclable supplies would you collect in order to make it?
  3. What is more valuable, a toy that you purchase at a store, or a toy you build yourself?
  4. Can you list three different materials that Kondi collected to construct his car with?
  5. What types of tools would you use to make and shape a recycled toy of your own?
  6. Which one of your family members would know the most about where you could find throw away materials to build a toy with?
  7. Did Kondi’s family have confidence in his ability to make a car from recycled parts?
  8. What surprised you the most about Kondi’s handmade toy?
  9. How long do you think it would take you to build a handmade toy car?
  10. What was the most important ingredient used to by Kondi to construct his toy car?
  11. Do you think that there are people who would value a handmade toy over a store bought toy? why?
  12. What kind of toy would you make if you lived in Kondi's village?
  13. What are some other kinds of objects that you have seen people make out of recyclable materials?
  14. What kinds of smaller parts will you need to build first before combining them altogether to craft the final toy project?
Step by Step Activities:
  1. After playing “Galimotos Game,” students will then return to their assigned seating to manipulate their materials into a toy of their own design. The teacher will need to observe the class to predetermine whether or not to continue the project for another class period.
  2. The teacher will then demonstrate the different stages of building a galimoto similar to the examples she has shown to the class.
  3. Students will wrap their wire human figures then set these aside.
  4. Students will then wrap wire pipe cleaners around paper tubes to create wheels.
  5. Students will attach these wheel shapes to either pre-constructed bike forms or they may choose to design a different galimoto of their own.
Modifications for Students With Special Needs -
Modifications for the hard-of-hearing or deaf student:
  • Student will be seated closer to instructor so they will be better equipped to hear instructions or read lips
  • Student will be provided with written instructions so that they read about the discussions and demonstrations
  • The instructor may use a amplification devise provided by the school or student’s parents
Modifications for the student with limited vision or blindness:
  • Students will be allowed to observe samples of art projects with their hands and for extended periods of time
  • Students will be provided with safe tools and one-on-one guidance during a demonstration of the project
  • The project may be slightly adjusted to accommodate the student’s limitations or for safety reasons
  • Student will be given ample time to exist classroom before large crowds gather outside of the classroom.
Modifications for students with mild brain injury:
  • Students will be provided with duplicate instructions for home and school. Student will not need to remember to carry home materials to review.
  • Students will be given ample time to exist classroom with a pre-determined aid or peer before the official end of a class.
  • Instructor will provide for parent e-mail communication concerning the progress and needs of their student.
  • Student may be given special seat assignment in order to enable his participation in class appropriately. Specific peers may be better equipped to articulate projects visually for this student.
Health & Safety Concerns: We suggest that pipe cleaners or coated electrical wire be used with this project. Plastic mesh may also be used as a safer substitute for wire mesh to prevent cuts.
Cleanup Time & Strategy: Cleanup time for this project will take approximately two to five minutes. Have a number of bins or paper bags set up at the front or back of the room that are clearly labeled according to the recyclable you wish the students to return to that particular bin. Tools, tape and glue may be returned to the shelves and drawers the teacher has assigned them to.
Internet Bibliography: African Innovations In Recycled Toys and General Information About Recycling in African Countries
  1. More African Toy Vehicles by Street Use -
  2. Toy exhibition highlights African ingenuity -,archiveCtx=2004826.html
  3. Trickle Up celebrates 25 years of micro-entrepreneurs -
  4. The Art of Play: Recycled Toys from Around the World -
  5. Recycling and the Law in Africa -
  6. Recycled and Improvised Materials at Design Indaba -
  7. Real-World Recycling Puts U.S. to Shame -
  8. From Trash to Treasure: Reusing Industrial Materials for School Art Projects -
Video Online About Recycling Materials:
All articles, photos and lesson plans are copyrighted by grimm 2011

Teacher sample of a galimoto made from wire and newspaper, full length.
An authentic "galimoto" from Kenya, this one is a helicopter.
Helicopter from above

Ten Thousand Villages Video


  1. Under the Step by Step Activities section #2 it states the teacher will then demonstrate the different stages of building a galimoto similar to the examples she has shown to the class.
    Do you have a link to illustrate the different stages? I am planning a galimoto art lesson.

  2. No, I'm sorry; I did not take any photos of my step-by-step process. Here is a link to an elaborate example.

    And... here is another article about wire cars made in Africa.

    I will also post a video above for you.

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