Media, materials and processes: 3D construction

Try to use a range of materials to give pupils accessible opportunities to engage with spatial and tactile ways of thinking and working.

Because working directly in three dimensions does not require an abstraction into two dimensions, it can be experienced as more immediate than drawing or painting.

Learning Intentions

  • We are learning to develop spatial awareness.
  • We are learning about the qualities of different construction materials and to use these inventively to create 3D objects and environments.
  • We are learning that we can use simple techniques to join materials and make constructions.

Learning Activities

Encourage the pupils to experiment and investigate by:

  • building 3D structures of different sizes, using boxes, cylinders and found materials of different shapes and sizes;
  • shaping and forming wet sand during structured play;
  • creating structures in their imaginative play that they can move inside, outside, over and under; and/or
  • using construction toys imaginatively to build in three dimensions, and describe how their toys work and are made.

Allow the pupils to experiment with materials, using their hands and tools to find out that they can:

  • coil, curl and fold paper easily;
  • bend, score and fold thin card easily;
  • twist and shape pipe cleaners and thin wire; and/or
  • combine and use found materials (natural or made) in different ways, for example in an outdoor environment.

Have them construct 3D pieces by:

  • collecting and sorting a range of objects, for example stones, shells and buttons;
  • modelling and constructing with the materials they find;
  • making paper parcels and combining these to build in three dimensions; and/or
  • modelling with dough, plasticine, clay or papier mâché.

Guide discussion to help the pupils engage in thinking processes:

  • generating ideas, individually or in groups;
  • testing a range of suggestions; and/or
  • forming and agreeing upon successful solutions.

Help the pupils practise joining materials. They could:

  • experiment with masking tape and Sellotape to join papers, card etc;
  • investigate the use of different adhesives, for example in collage work; and/or
  • use different joining techniques, for example:
    • Sellotape;
    • string;
    • rubber bands;
    • masking tape;
    • PVA;
    • paper fasteners; and/or
    • staples.