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1st-6th grade woodworking classes



3rd Grade

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To learn the rules of personal safety in the shop, students crafted their own “Safety Self-Portrait”. They experimented with mixed media and decorated a wooden figure to their likeness while illustrating the safety habits that they must demonstrate in order to be a safe and successful woodworker.


Students discussed the words “collaborative” and “kinetic” as they learned about insect themed artwork. They made their very own “kinetic” insect sculptures with bodies that can wriggle and move. During this project, they marked straight lines with try squares and then used the dovetail saw to cut one inch by two inch pieces of wood to make up their insect bodies.

 Students learned how to come up with a “Plan of Procedures” (a woodworking recipe!) in order to complete their third project of the year. For this project, they made personal pizzas complete with sawdust cheese and decorated wooden toppings. These unique and delicious sculptures become jigsaw puzzles as students learn all about making curved cuts with the coping saw. The finishing touch was a decorated pizza box complete with a logo, slogan, and lots of delicious, pizza adjectives. Bon appétit! 

In preparation for project number four, 3rd grade students learned all about different artists that use mazes in their work. Some examples were wood based but we also looked at paintings, architecture, and even corn mazes. Third graders then  designed their very own marble maze, starting off with pencil on paper. Many iterations later and students were ready to transfer their design onto wood and start cutting the walls with dovetail saws. 

In our last rotation, 3rd graders learned all about how public art can be looked at, touched, walked in, boated around, and even tasted! We learned about artists like Jean Claude and Christo, Yayoi Kusama, Anish Kapoor, Steve Parker, Lucy Sparrow and Spencer Finch.  We made our very own public art installation of “Pecksicles”, a conglomeration of popsicles made by the whole 3rd grade and proudly displayed in the hallway. 3rd graders designed their popsicle template, transferred it to their pine blocks, and used the coping saw to cut out the shape. Students learned how to use an electric hand drill in order to drill a hole for their popsicle sticks and they finished it all with acrylic paint and mixed media decorations. What a sweet end to a wonderful year!

4th Grade

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4th graders start the year off reviewing the old and charging into new territory with new skills, tools, and projects. Students looked at artists who work in abstract sculpture, like Mark di Suvero, Isamu Noguchi, Louise Bourgeois, and Louise Nevelson. Their first project is inspired by the woodworker/artist Ellie Richards and her playful and abstract series of shape studies. Students used the dovetail saw to cut down a four-foot piece of wood and then used the coping saw, rasp, and file to shape their “studies”. Using the word prompts (smooth, curvy, jagged) to inspire varied shapes and textures, students explore the possibilities that each hand tool has to offer.

In recent rotations, 4th graders learned two new tools for shaping wood; the rasp and the file. After a brief history of folk toys, students tested some out, including the Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle, a traditional Appalachian folk toy, and an Ox Yoke Puzzle. They designed and made their very own Ox Yoke Puzzle by cutting out the shape with the coping saw and using the rasp, and file to round over the edges of the piece. They worked together to bore holes in their pieces with the bit and brace and an electric drill.

Fourth graders explored how shape determines function with a game of “Pass the Utensil.” They used critical thinking and observational skills to analyze a range of spoons and guess their use based on their material, size, and shape.

In their final project of the year, each student was given a piece of basswood and either traced a spoon template or drew their own design onto the piece . They learned how to use a gouge with two hands firmly on the tool. To hollow out the bowl, students drew an island with surrounding water on the bowl area of their piece (using two different colored pencils). They worked to carve away first the surrounding water and then the island and repeated the process in order to achieve the desired bowl depth. Students shaped the handle with the rasp and file before finishing with sand paper. The final step was coating their piece with food safe mineral oil. 

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Extracurricular Classes

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Wood Shop/ Snack Shop: Rising 4th-8th Grade:

This class was all about wooden utensils and the food that goes with them! Students used classic woodworking hand tools like files, rasps, and saws to make wooden kitchen items and then explored different cooking processes in order to make tasty snacks! To go along with our spoons, we made homemade ice cream by shaking a container with sugar and cream inside of a ziploc bag filled with rock salt and ice. To go along with our spreading knives, we made homemade butter by shaking cold heavy cream in a mason jar. Then, we made strawberry jam and served it all up on a mini cutting board!



Builder's Club: 1st and 2nd Grade:

In this class, 1st and 2nd Graders got a chance to be in the Lower School woodshop! Students hammered, sanded, painted, and built their way through this class. They completed a variety of projects, including Piggy/Animal Coin Banks, Amusement Park Models, and Rubber Band Marble Mazes!

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