Pop Culture Characters Can Inspire Young Artists And Engineers
I know of some early educations centers that don’t allow anything to do with movies and TV shows in the classroom. I fully respect and understand this decision and those who believe in commercial free childhood. That being said, for the majority of children being exposed to pop culture is inevitable and not all of pop culture is bad. In fact a lot of it can be very good and many of use have dear childhood memories related to our favorite movies, shows, comics, and music. Moreover, in a classroom setting you can have critical discussions of pop culture with children to try to mitigate potential negative effects. Because children can become deeply invested in pop culture characters, they can be used as a catalyst to get children interested to do art and engineering activities. Below are a few examples of what I mean from my students.
The stufent above loves art actives, but is not as likely to engage with geometric shapes. She also love My Little Ponies. By having her bring her My Little Pony ( Rainbow Dash) to the shape area, she got the idea to try to recreate the pony out of shapes. This is something she did with great attention to detail over about 15 minutes.
Doc McStuffins is one of the most popular children’s shows the past decade. (Fun Fact: Kay Hanley lead singer of Boston band Letters to Cleo helps compose the songs). One is the main characters on the show is Lambie. Here a student brought her stuffed Lambie to the art area and did a detailed still life style drawing of Lambie. The attention to detail and focus she showed could be correlated to her love of the character and her stuffed animal version of it.
No pop culture property has as devoted fan base as Star Wars. Over the years I have seen many Star Wars obsessed parents pass down that obsession to their kids especially with all the new movies coming out. Above, a Star Wars obsessed student uses magnet tiles to an Imperial At-At Walker which Star Wars fans will remember from the planet Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back.
In all these cases, and countless more I’ve seen over the years, students organically incorporated pop culture characters into building skills and concepts.