From Paper to Plush: North Cobb Students Bring Vaughan Student Designs to Life

Vaughan students show off their toy designs.

Walking through the doors of Natalie DePietro’s art class, one may be surprised to find a toy factory. It is all part of the North Cobb High School teacher’s Toy Exchange lesson plan, which aims to teach students how to manufacture a product for a client. art%20lesson%20picture%203.jpeg

Their clients cannot yet drive cars. They do not have jobs and are almost a decade away from graduating high school, but they have big imaginations and know what they want.

Vaughan Elementary School fourth graders picked up their pencils, pens, crayons, and markers and planned out their sketches. From elephants, ponies, and bunnies to creatures that mimic unicorns, the students drew their favorite furry friends that they wanted to animate.

The North Cobb High School students used the drawings from their Vaughan clients to create toy protypes.

After receiving their clients’ sketches, the North Cobb students quickly transformed into toy makers.

Although the students dealt with artistic and internal challenges, each innovator produced a 3D plushie toy that mirrored the blueprints the elementary students drew. Not only did the North Cobb students spread joy to a fellow Cobb County school, but they also gained valuable product design skills. Turning a hand-drawn animal into an identical plush toy taught the students in Applied Design I and II how to market to clients.

art%20lesson%20picture%202.jpeg“Working with clients is something that most artists must learn how to do. It takes time to understand what the client wants, but also an artistic eye to take their idea and make it workable and functional. Having this skill is necessary to know as a striving artist. In general, being kind, understanding, and asking the right questions are great skills to learn as an up-and-coming professional artist and human being,” Ms. DePietro said.

The Vaughan classroom buzzed with excitement as the young clients saw their dreams on paper brought to life.

“The students bonded over the plushies that they worked on for so long and bonded over the idea,” the North Cobb teacher explained. “It was a beautiful environment. I wish every class could have that feeling.”

That is one reason Ms. DePietro created the lesson plan. She was looking for a way to innovate how her students learn and spark their creativity while also helping to bring smiles to other Cobb students.

“Sometimes art can be about spreading joy, and making other people feel special is just one of the many things I want my students to experience,” the North Cobb teacher added. “Art is a wonderful tool to spread happiness across the world, and if I could get my students to experience just a sliver of what art can do for other people, then I wanted to take that opportunity.”