Fourth grade students in my school district learn about Michigan's history in social studies. A big part of that history is the fur trapping trade. Logging and fur trapping were a few of Michigan's early economic strengths.

The kids create an egg form for the body. To create fur textures on the beavers the kids push a sharpened pencil tip in sideways. It's almost like laying the pencil down on the top of the body and then just smushing the side of the sharpened part into the clay. If we are working with a white clay body we often put a dab of hot wax on the teeth as a glaze resist. Some years we glaze the clay beavers, and other years we paint them with tempera paints.