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Maria Sibylla Merian

Maria Sibylla Merian was not only an incredible illustrator, but she was a pioneering scientist, too. During a time when women weren’t allowed into the scientific community, Merian was dedicated to studying insects and plants. Even more, she accurately and beautifully illustrated the objects she studied. Her work is still used by scientists today!

With this box, kids will learn about Merian’s scientific adventures and a few of the discoveries she made. Young artists will study her watercolor illustrations that tell the story of some of nature’s most interesting creatures. They will recreate two of her most colorful pieces, design a 3D butterfly, and learn how to illustrate their own discoveries in nature.

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Activities in the Maria Sibylla Merian Box:
Granatapfel Mixed-Media Life Cycle of a Butterfly
With this piece, recreate Merian’s Granatapfel, a piece in which she illustrated the metamorphosis of a butterfly and use fun materials to depict the butterfly, eggs, caterpillar, and cocoon. You will also create a fun background with watercolor pencils!

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Granatapfel Mixed-Media Life Cycle of a Butterfly
Plate CLXIX Mixed-Media Flower Bouquet
Merian’s step-father taught her how to illustrate flowers when she was just a little girl. In this project, young artists will design three-part flowers with antique-looking craft paper, cupcake liners, and pom-poms. Then, they will assemble the flowers to create two unique bouquets.

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Plate CLXIX Mixed-Media Flower Bouquet
Nature Journaling Techniques
When she was 52 years old, Merian traveled to South America, and it was there that she made the most important discoveries of her time. Children can make discoveries of their own every day! In this project, they will assemble their own nature journal and learn how to record and illustrate the objects they are studying.

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Nature Journaling Techniques
Butterfly Diorama
For the final project, create a stunning 3D butterfly that sits in a decorative display box. Work with watercolor pencils, air-dry clay, and a gluing technique that’s similar to paper mache.

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Butterfly Diorama
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