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What makes a Tusker?

 Two students on either side of a hand written poster with "what Makes a tuker" on itThat’s the question that third-grade students at Somers Intermediate School were asking themselves as they created their “Tusker” elephants in art.

Students started by watching a documentary in class to explore the different personality traits of elephants in the wild and made note of the traits that also represented a Somers Tusker. Traits included things such as being cooperative, curious, strong, persistent, and gentle.

“We used the video to help us see an elephant’s character traits,” Amelia Goodwin said.

a boy showing his work“I learned that they’re protective and kind,” Lana Vega said. “They like to work as a team, and whenever they look for food or water, they go as a group.”

Students were then asked to draw realistic elephants on practice paper, focusing on the elephant’s physical features. They could choose to do either a side or front view. Students started by splitting the paper into four quadrants, then drew their elephants to fill the paper, using photos of real elephants for reference. Once they were happy with their practice drawing, students copied it onto watercolor paper. The backgrounds were watercolor painted, and the elephants were colored with colored pencils and then outlined in Sharpie to stand out.

What Makes a Tusker“I picked the front view,” Savannah Perez said. “It seemed easier for me and more graceful.”

The final piece of their project was to decide what attributes from real-life elephants were the most important for their Tusker. After selecting specific attributes, the students added those words to their Tusker artwork, and the results were hugely successful.

“I love art because it taught me that I can make mistakes,” said Amelia, “and I can still make something beautiful.”

STudets writing at tables