Students always want to, and are interested in “playing” with clay. It teaches lots of concepts and you can utilize lots of historical references for subject matter.
One of the first things is just teaching the process and an awareness of how many things are made of clay. In the room I’m teaching at now I point out that the glazed bricks surrounding the window are clay, and due to the geographical proximity, there is a good chance that the bricks were made in the East Liverpool, Ohio area.
In terms of process, the students need to understand some basic dues and don’ts of clay, for example, not too thick(if it’s over a inch thick it has a good chance of breaking), not to thin(too thin almost always results in breakage), don’t seal air bubbles in, attach one piece of clay to another with a bit of slurry(clay mixed with water) and some scoring. Above you can see a student making a simple pot with a lid.
Some students go immediately for a more sculptural approach. Ms. Abigail did a great, imaginative figure you can see above.