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Level: Primary, Junior, Middle School
Grades: K-8 | Age: 5-14yrs | Written by: Debi London
[Debi is an elementary art teacher in Pembroke Pines, Florida.]

Students will learn about the African American inventor Jan Earnst Matzeliger as they make shoe prints.

What You Need (Paper Bag Poncho):
What You Do (Paper Bag Poncho):

  1. Research the African-American inventor, Jan Matzeliger - who invented the shoe-lasting machine. The "shoe-lasting" machine would automatically stitch the leather of the shoe to the sole. This invention was very important because it lowered the cost to both the manufacturer and the customer.
  2. The children brush only one color of tempera paint on the the bottom of the sneaker.
  3. Print on the white paper.
  4. Discuss the texture of the sneaker (print making).
  5. Then, the children use markers to draw arms and legs next to the wet print.
  6. They are not allowed to use markers on the wet print.
  7. They put Elmer's glue on the back of sequins for eyes, a mouth, nose, necklace, bows in the hair etc...
  8. The children must put the sequins on the wet paint only if their is glue on the back of the sequins (if there is no glue, they will fall off).
  9. They can also wait for the print to dry and then use markers and sequins during another session if more time is available.

Recommended Books/Products:

Shoes for Everyone: A Story About Jan Matzeliger
by Barbara Mitchell, Hetty Mitchell
A biography of the half-Dutch/half-black Surinamese man who, despite the hardships and prejudice he found in his new Massachusetts home, invented a shoe-lasting machine that revolutionized the shoe industry in the late nineteenth century.

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