Project Review: Anthropomorphic Animals

5th Grade Artists in Detroit, MI learn about anthropomorphic animals.

The Project: In the project ‘Anthropomorphic Animals’, student artists learn about anthropomorphic animals & look at examples of them through art, literature, and pop culture. They choose an animal, draw it realistically from photographs, and then use the background to show what human traits the animal has come to represent.


 Ms. Howland-Bolton teaches 5th grade at Clippert Elementary in the Detroit Public School System. Every year her class chooses a name to go by: this year, the kids chose ‘The Cool Ducks’!

Art in school: Our school doesn’t have an art program. I try to do art in some capacity every day, but we usually have an actual art lesson (usually a Doodles Academy lesson) once a week, if testing doesn’t get in the way.

Connecting the content: Even though it wasn’t part of the lesson, it was also nice to be able to discuss stereotypes (something we’ve been talking about all year) in a different context. We spent time talking about stereotypes and how the anthropomorphic qualities that we’ve assigned animals in literature have had a real life impact on animals that has often been really negative.

Literacy + Art: The concept of Anthropomorphic Animals is usually a little complex for 5th graders to grasp but they totally got it during this lesson.

Adaptations: I don’t have access to a printer a lot of the time so I allowed kids to look their animal pictures up, rather than printing copies of the ones provided.

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