Round and Round: Circles and Cylinders

Lesson Plan


Children will explore the concept of holes and cylinders by first using their bodies and then exploring how to make holes with clay. Hubert Candelario‘s Jar will serve as their inspiration for the activities.

Intended Age Group

Early childhood (ages 3-5)

Length of Lesson

One 30 minute lesson

Standards Area

Visual Arts


Students will be able to:

  • use fine motor skills to help them trace holes in different objects;
  • roll out clay and cut shapes out of the clay with a cookie cutter; and
  • talk about how it felt to work with the clay.


  1. Warm-up: Have children make their bodies into “holes” (either lying or standing). You might want to play some music and have them shape themselves into “holes” when you stop the music.
  2. Bring in different objects with holes and allow the children to “trace” the holes with their fingers (e.g. toilet or paper towel rolls, plastic bottles and caps, plastic cups of different sizes, slices/blocks of Swiss cheese, etc.).
  3. Have children rub the outside of the cylinders with their fingers and compare and contrast how a hole feels and how a cylinder feels.
  4. Show children Hubert Candelario’s jar and have them share what they see. Draw their attention to the holes, the overall shape, and the sparkles shining out from the clay.
  5. Help the students to roll out clay flat and make holes in it with cookie cutters and other tools. (You might want to add sparkles to the clay and talk about why the pot sparkles.) Which tools make the best holes? Have them trace the cut-out shapes with their fingers.
  6. Have children share their favorite holes and talk about what was the easiest thing about making the holes, what was most difficult, and what was the most fun.


  • Assorted objects with holes and assorted cylinders
  • Round cookies cutters of different sizes and assorted tools to cut rolled out clay (e.g. plastic knives, wood pottery tools, sticks from outside, etc.)
  • Air dry clay that is soft enough not to crumble when rolled out and cut
  • About the Art section on Hubert Candelario’s Jar (included with the lesson plan)
  • One color copy of the jar for every four children, or the ability to project the image onto a wall or screen


CO Standards

  • Visual Arts
    • Invent and Discover to Create
    • Observe and Learn to Comprehend
    • Relate and Connect to Transfer
  • Language Arts
    • Oral Expression and Listening

21st Century Skills

  • Critical Thinking & Reasoning
  • Information Literacy
  • Invention
  • Self-Direction

About the Art




Hubert Candelario, United States

Who Made It?

“There are only four potters at San Felipe Pueblo,” says Hubert Candelario, “and I’m one. The other three are married to potters from other pueblos, and that’s how they learned. Me? I just had a feel for it.”

Hubert Candelario was born in 1965 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Before becoming a professional artist, he studied architectural drafting and design at the Pheonix Institute of Technology in Arizona. In the 1980s he developed an interest in clay and began experimenting with pottery techniques and form. He was inspired by the work of Maria Martinez (whose work is also on the Creativity Resource website) and was fascinated by ancient Pueblo pottery designs. Because there are very few potters from San Felipe Pueblo, Candelario did not learn techniques from others, but experimented with his own personal style. “As a contemporary Native American Indian potter I have no limits, only choices,” he says. Today, Candelario lives in Albuquerque where he works on his pottery full-time.

What Inspired It?

After learning the basic techniques used to create a piece of pottery, Candelario used his experience in structure and design to move beyond the boundaries of traditional pottery. When speaking about a similar “Holey Pot” Candelario said, “I have always loved structure and design, fields that I originally studied at school. While making this pot, I thought about ways to incorporate structural principles into the design. I began cutting away holes in a traditional pot to see how far I could push the limits of structure. It was a technical challenge that succeeded.”



The clay and slip that Candelario uses contain gold colored flakes of mica that give the finished pot a glowing and sparkling surface.

Round Holes
Round Holes

Perfectly round holes pierce the jar on all sides. According to Candelario, “the holes are like nature; they are the structure of cells.” He first forms the jar by using a traditional method of coiling clay from a bowl base. After letting the clay dry for a few days, he uses a circular template to draw circles and then carves the holes using an Xacto knife. He carves the bottom of the pot first, then turns it over and carves the top. If cracks occur at any point, he will start over from the beginning.

Funding for lesson plans provided by a grant from the Morgridge Family Foundation. Additional funding provided by the William Randolph Hearst Endowment for Education Programs, and Xcel Energy Foundation. We thank our colleagues at the University of Denver Morgridge College of Education.