3rd grade Asiatic Cheetahs in Iran

Want to teach your 3rd grade art students

  • observational drawing
  • how to experience their own color mixing magic
  • how to improve their composition creating skills as they position their leaves
  • fine tuning of their cutting skills
  • what parts of the Iranian countryside look like
  • how they can use their art to advocate for an endangered species?

You’ll love teaching the Asiatic Cheetah art project.

I wanted to find an Iranian art project, but didn’t find that much out there online. I decided to come up with my own project. Here ya go!

I learned during my research that there’s a type of cheetah, the Asiatic Cheetah, that only has 50 left in existence. And all 50 only live in Iran!

I introduced this project by asking the students to share what they knew about cheetahs. Then I showed a clip of the Iranian Soccer team playing World Cup soccer interspersed with clips of a cheetah chasing a gazelle. Some fans in the stands held up signs that raised awareness of the endangered Asiatic Cheetah by making a collective image of the cheetah.

We discussed what we watched, and then watched a clip on YouTube explain fun facts about cheetahs and Asiatic Cheetahs.

I knew drawing the cheetah would be challenging, so we first created our painted paper for the leaves. I demoed how to paint yellow, orange, black and white tempera together for our painted paper leaves.

I originally thought the students would be able to freehand draw their own leaves on their painted paper, but their first attempts were so tiny that you would barely see their beautiful painted paper. I made some different-sized leaf tracers, and they traced and cut out their leaves that way. Last leaf step was to demo how to paint veins in them.

Organization and storage of 5 classes of leaves over a month and a half was a huge challenge! We ended up writing names and art addresses on Ziplock bags and keeping each class’s bags together to pass out then re-collect each week until that glorious day when they were glued on.

I collected some cheetah images online and stapled them together for the artists. I found a really helpful step by step how to draw a cheetah tutorial. I drew it myself and included my drawing in the stapled handouts.

When it was time to draw, the first thing I heard from my students in more than one class was “I can’t draw a cheetah! Cheetahs are too hard to draw!” I assured them that all they needed to draw a cheetah was drawing a straight line, a curved line, and a circle.

I demoed how to draw the step by step cheetah for the class. I positioned the other cheetahs as challenges for anyone who wanted to draw an advanced cheetah.

They were excited to begin. We started with pencils, then traced over with Sharpies. After the Sharpie step, we added watercolor to our drawings. Then we cut them out and backed them with our choice of construction paper.

I demoed how to position then glue the leaves to give the illusion of our cheetahs peeking out of the leafy bushes.

I was so happy with how this project came out. Seeing them achieve 100% success rate, seeing how they individualized their cheetahs, and seeing them develop a heart for an endangered animal made me smile. Let me know what your experiences were in creating this project in your classroom. Tag me @juliaforsythart on Instagram, Julia Posey Forsyth on Facebook, and @wowartproject on Twitter. Happy creating!

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