Nature + Animals

Grade(s): Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, 1, 2, and 3

Location: Visual Art Studios at St. Albert Place (Art Gallery of St. Albert)

Program Delivery: In Person, In School, and Virtual

Under the Sea:  Using a variety of hand-building techniques, students create a clay plaque depicting life under the ocean’s waves.  Seas and oceans have such an abundance of amazing plants and animals to discover. What kinds of creatures can you think of?  Dolphins and turtles and fish, oh my!

Student Outcomes
  • Be introduced to clay and the many different hand building techniques that will enable them to create a unique and impressive underwater scene based on past and newly acquired knowledge of animals and plants that live in our seas and oceans

Birds Nest: In this clay class, students examine a real bird’s nest and discuss what type of bird made it, what materials were used and where it was found before crafting their own nest on a branch with eggs and a cute little bird.

Student Outcomes
  • Learn what clay is and where it comes from; why it is bisque fired in a kiln; how to use clay and clay tools safely in a professional studio
  • Explore land-based learning concepts and discuss environmental impacts on birds and their habitats

Frogs and Toads: In this clay class, students examine photos of frogs and toads and then discuss their differences and similarities. Students are then shown step by step, how to make a lily pad or smooth rock for their chosen amphibian to sit upon.

Student Outcomes
  • Students explore land based learning concepts and discuss environmental impacts on frog and toad habitats
  • They also learn the different characteristics that exist between frogs and toads


Brilliant Butterfly: Not only are they beautiful to look at, butterflies play an important role in the pollination of flowering plants and are great indicators of climate change and habitat destruction. Students examine photographs of a variety of Alberta butterfly species before being led step by step through the process of how to build a symmetrical clay butterfly using hand shaped slabs and coils. 

    Student Outcomes
    • Experiment with drawing, impressing, rolling, and coiling clay in order to create a realistic rendering of a symmetrical butterfly
    • Explore land based learning concepts and discuss environmental impacts on butterfly habitats
    • Discuss common butterfly species in Alberta, such as, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Tiger Swallowtail, Monarch, and why colour, symmetry and pattern are so important for their survival


    Ladybug: Students will examine images of ladybugs and learn the stages of metamorphosis from egg to larva then pupa and adult. Step by step, students are shown how to turn a clay slab into a leaf before rolling clay balls that make up a head, thorax, abdomen and protective ladybug shell.

      Student Outcomes
      • Explore land-based learning concepts and discuss environmental impacts on ladybug habitats
      • Discuss metamorphosis of common ladybug species in Canada and why colour, symmetry and pattern are important for their survival 

      Please indicate which project you would like to create upon registration.

      *Note: All in school and virtual clay programs use air dry clay which is much less durable than clay that is bisque fired at our visual art studios. We cannot transport clay from in-school programs to the visual art studios for firing, but if your school has a kiln and a technician, we can supply suitable clay for firing at your school. 

      Click here for information on in school techniques for finishing air dry clay.


      Art: refining forms, creative process, expression and celebration, fine and gross motor skill development

      Science: Shapes, Experimentation, animals, seasons, life cycles, flying animals


      Suggested Pairings

      Exploring Art – Art Gallery of St. Albert

      Spring Along the River – Musée Héritage Museum

      * To schedule a field trip, you'll need to have a teacher account and log in. If you don't have an account yet, you can easily register for one here.

      Teacher Feedback

      My students loved the field trip. There is a good mix of teaching about the history and hands-on activities.

      Holy Cross SchoolGr 2, “My School – Past and Present” at Little White School and “Work and Play” at St. Albert Grain Elevators

      Perfect project to complement our learning in Science.

      Wild Rose SchoolGr 3, “Metamorphosis” clay program - Art Gallery of St. Albert, St Albert Place Studios

      The presentation was engaging and informative. It fit in wonderfully with our kindergarten curriculum and was a positive and meaningful experience for my students.

      Windsor Park SchoolKinder, “I Belong” in-school Museum program

      These were valuable and engaging programs for the students. They enjoyed learning a new skill and at the river lots they were encouraged to think critically and reflect carefully.

      Leo Nickerson SchoolGr 5, “Learning from the Land” at the River Lots

      My students loved it and couldn't wait to go home and show their creations!

      Ecole HillgroveGr 5, “Needle Felted Owl” – Art Gallery of St. Albert, St Albert Place Studios

      This program was fantastic. The students loved the opportunity to be in council chambers.

      Albert Lacombe SchoolGr 6, “History of Local Government” Museum program

      I have done clay projects with you for as long as I can remember. Once again, everything was AMAZING! We have a new grade partner this year who had never been, and she absolutely loved it! The instructors are always excellent, They explain and guide the students in manageable chunks to make it easy for the kids to follow along. I love that you allow extra parents to come and assist. I especially like that the projects are always connected to the curriculum! Thanks again.

      Bishop David MotiukGr 3, “Nunavut Kayaks” Clay Program

      The Peru and Indigenous Peoples of Canada program perfectly connected Gr 3 Social Studies content with some Gr 4 Social Studies content. We had lots to talk about after.

      Lynnwood SchoolGr 3/4, “Peru and the Aboriginal People of Canada” Museum program

      The instructor was amazing. She engaged the students in the Métis culture. The activity was hands on and informative.

      St. Edmund SchoolGr 4 “Metis Contemporary Beading” Gallery Indigenous In-School Program

      Amazing program with a knowledgeable instructor who engaged my students and me too! Thanks so much for offering this field trip.

      Connections for LearningGr 3 “Tipi As Home” – Museum Program