I read a post from Mr. E recently about how he has never been a big sculpture teacher, and even though it's part of my curriculum, I really haven't been either. I was inspired by the wire sculptures he made with his 4th graders and decided to alter it a bit for my 8th graders. They started yesterday, and didn't get too far so we'll have to wait to see what they come up with!
One successful 3D project I have done for several years is a Francois Pompon inspired lesson. I don't have a kiln, so I use air dry clay. Each 8th grader makes a small practice sculpture out of model magic. Then they use Prang Air Hardening Modeling clay for the final piece. Some of the best advice I have found when teaching kids about sculpture is that you have to be willing to allow it to “morph” into something totally different while you are working on it! They painted the finished pieces with acrylic paint.