An enjoyable project that pushes the comfort zones for many of my 7th graders is their Japanese Printmaking Unit. I enjoy this unit because it takes a look into a part of history that is both artistic but innovative. Students learn of safety in the art room and ultimately create a block carving of themselves that allows them to print copies for everyone in the class. The reason I have them print copies like this is to ensure they understand the original purpose of printmaking and how things developed after it took off. We talk about how we can appreciate printers and copiers more, but most students come out of the project enjoying the concept and seeking out more opportunities to experience it.
The push in comfort zones comes from the requirement that students print a “stamped” image of their school picture. This is challenging but keeps their work original.