Author: robeliken

Area & Perimeter Animals

Learning about area and/or perimeter is a lot more fun with these little guys:

The original animals are here: Животни от хартия в квадратчета  (Google Translate tells me this says, “Animals of Paper Into Squares).  It’s in Bulgarian, but the images are great and easy to use.

After doing this project on plain flimsy graph paper, I would recommend printing large-square graph paper on cardstock, like this centimeter graph paper.

For younger ones (under 7), have an adult draw the animals.  Let the kids color them, then cut out.  Exposure to the concept of a gridded drawing is ample until they are older. If they are ready, ask leading questions like, “How many squares are in the body?  How many are in the legs?”

For older kids you can do a guided drawing:

  • Draw a face that has an area of 9 cm (or that includes 9 squares, if the concept of area isn’t firm)
  • Draw ears that have a perimeter of 10 cm.
  • Draw a tail that is 1 cm by 5 cm long.

Cut out and play!

Math Art & The Right Side of Normal

I’m currently purging the schoolroom, starting to prepare for our move this summer. While cleaning out, I found these pictures I created long ago with my oldest daughter.

3x5-math-art

Ten years ago she was almost 7 years old.  To say she was struggling with math is an understatement; no matter how much we worked on math, especially facts, the next day all would be forgotten.  Zero retention.  I began doubting my ability to teach her, especially since she was also struggling with reading.

Fortunately for both of us, around this time I also stumbled upon a yahoo group run by Cindy Gaddis at The Right Side of Normal.  I learned so much from her and the other moms on the group.  (The yahoo group has pretty much died out, but the Facebook page is still active, and her book and website contain wonderful information.)  My child was absolutely a “resistant learner,” and thanks to Cindy this was the beginning of learning to work with my daughter, rather than against her.

4x4-math-art

We dropped all formal math curriculum and began to play.  These pictures are the very first thing we created, a treasure for me as they mark the beginning of my journey as a teacher of (and learner with) my children, not just an instructor.

Math Art Week 4 – Division Facts

This “division tree” is similar to the multiplication leaves from last week. The first step in this project is to cut circles of different sizes from varying types of paper.  If the student struggles to cut circles, circle punches can be used, or they can be cut ahead of time by the instructor.  (Some of my students wanted to make their shapes more like leaves than circles.) Next, arrange the circles in stacks; use the term “divide” as much as possible: “Divide your circles into 3 stacks?  What about 4?  How many circles are in each stack? Can you divide them evenly without any leftover?”  Once the student grasps the concept of dividing, proceed with the project.

week4pic1

Materials

  • various colors and types of paper*
  • scissors and/or circle punches
  • glue or mod podge

*We used scrapbook paper for the background, colored paper for the tree and circles, and some origami paper for the decorative bits. In the picture above, origami paper is used for the top 2 layers, which makes it difficult to distinguish that there are 2 layers!

Directions

  1. Cut and divide circles as describe above.
  2. Decide on a permanent arrangement / number of stacks.
  3. Cut a tree to match the number of stacks.
  4. Glue all parts to a heavy piece of paper.
  5. Create a label to show which division fact is being illustrated.

Math Art Week 3 – Multiplication Facts

This week in Math Art we created an art panel to illustrate a multiplication fact. Our plants had leaves broken into 2 sections; each section was doodled differently.  The students multiplied the 2 sections by the number of leaves they created to figure out their math fact.

week3pic1


Materials

  • cardboard pieces from boxes
  • gesso
  • various paintbrushes
  • acrylic paint
  • plain colored paper for leaves and stem
  • decorative paper
  • mod podge
  • fine tip permanent ink art marker, such as a Sharpie Fine Point Pen*

*It is important to use a permanent ink pen, or the doodles will smear when mod podge is applied.


Directions

  1. Paint cardboard with gesso to prime it.  Let dry.  (Use hairdryer to speed up drying time).
  2. Paint a background color on cardboard with acrylic paint.  Let dry.
  3. On colored paper, draw leaf shapes.
    • Divide each leaf shape into sections.  You may choose 2, 3, 4 or more sections.  Each section will be doodled differently.
    • If you are working on a specific math fact, instruct the students to divide their leaves into that number of sections. For example, if you are creating, 6×4, you may have 6 leaves each with 4 sections, or 4 leaves each with 6 sections.
  4. Decorate the leaves by doodling each section with zentangles.
  5. Cut out a slightly larger leaf from the decorative paper to mount under the doodled leaf.
  6. Cut out a stem shape.
  7. Use mod podge to apply all shapes to the dried cardboard.
  8. Write out the math fact and mod podge it on the cardboard.

 

Math Art Week 2 – Fractions

Our project this week was based on the book “Picture Pie” by Ed Emberley.  Picture Pie helps the reader create simple pieces of art based on the fractions of a circle.   While these look simple, the execution can be quite tedious.  Below are the details for a simple bookmark.

FullSizeRender

“Fraction Fish Bookmark”

week2pic11


Materials

  • black construction paper, cut in 2″ strips for bookmarks
  • colored or patterned paper for circles
  • 1″ circle punch
  • scissors
  • glue
  • laminator (optional)

Directions

Teach a short lesson on the fractions of a circle.  Have kids use the circle punch and scissors to cut up and sort fractions.

 

Choose pieces for the Fraction Fish bookmark. This project requires 12 quarters and 2 eighths.


week2pic9

Arrange pieces in desired configuration.  Glue onto bookmark.

week2pic10

Let dry.  Laminate if desired.  (If you choose not to laminate, press the dried bookmark until all pieces are nicely flattened).


Other Projects

Math Art Week 1 – Number Bonds

This summer we are hosting a small “Math Art” class for a few of our friends.  Each week we will create a math-themed art project (or an art-themed math project!).

week1pic3

Ways to Make “10”

For Week 1 we created a mixed media board that illustrated a Number Bond.  Each student picked a Number, then cut numbers out of newspaper and magazines to show at least 4 “ways to make” their chosen Number.   The ages of these kids were from 7 to 11 years old.


Materials

  • cardboard
  • various paintbrushes
  • Mod Podge
  • papers to create a background (scrapbook paper, newspaper, old worksheets)
  • acrylic paint
  • small container to mix paint with water
  • wax paper
  • old magazines and newspapers
  • scissors
  • pencils

Directions

  1. Cut pieces of cardboard from old boxes.
  2. Use a paintbrush & Mod Podge to paste on a background.  We used old math worksheets & tests. Tear paper to fit. (If you haven’t used Mod Podge before, just paint the cardboard with a thin coat, place your piece of decorative paper, then paint another thin coat on top.  Continue layering.)
  3. Let dry, about 15 minutes if the Mod Podge is a thin coat.  Trim edges.
  4. Paint the background with watered down acrylic paint.  If the paint is too thick to see the background, wipe some off with a towel.
  5. Let dry.
  6. Have each student choose a Number.  On a piece of paper, have them list at least 4 “ways to make” that Number.  Provide magazines, newspapers, and scissors to hunt for numbers.  (The weekly ads are a great source!)  They can keep track of the numbers they have found by laying them on the paper where they wrote their answers.
  7. When the background paint is dry, use a pencil to sketch the body of a dragonfly.
  8. Paint the dragonfly body with acrylic paint (NOT watered down!).  I place a dab of red, yellow, blue, and white paint on a piece of wax paper for each child, and let them mix colors as they wish.
  9. Let dry.
  10. Have each student look through magazines to find a pretty pattern for wings.  Cut wings and set aside.
  11. Once the paint is mostly dry, use Mod Podge to attach the numbers and wings.
  12. After all paint is completely dry, you can Mod Podge over the entire piece as a finish coat.

Doodle Animals

In Classical Conversations we spend the first six weeks of the year learning the “OiLS” method of drawing taught in Mona Brookes’ book “Drawing With Children.”  OiLS stands for circles (O), dots (dot of the i), straight lines (line of the i), angled lines (L), and curved lines (S).  The children learn to see these elements in many different pieces of art and drawing.

These same elements are also used in the meditative drawing technique of Zentangles.  We do doodles/tangles in our house almost every day as a way to focus our minds and exercise fine motor muscles (sample day here).

doodle horse

The Idea

Combine OiLS drawing method with other drawing techniques, including Zentangles.

 

doodle frog

The Execution

Lately we’ve been combining our doodles with regular drawing exercises (from 20 Ways to Draw… books).  For younger children (or those with less drawing experience), you could print a picture off the internet and have them fill in the spaces with doodles.  The pictures on this page took a week or two to complete, working 5-10 minutes each day.

doodle squirrel

The Extension

For older children (or those more advanced in drawing), use doodles as accents and/or shading for 3-dimensional drawings.  Results would be similar to the techniques of hatching, cross-hatching, and stippling.

Writing with Legos

Fridays are “Project Day” in our house: the day to get to all the fun things that we can never make time for during the week!   We rotate through language arts, math, science, and art projects.  The past few weeks we returned to an old favorite, the Grammar Garden.

The Idea

Use a favorite toy to elicit creative writing.

The Execution

The kids spent a few minutes building their gardens using the Lego characters, special pieces, and a few building pieces.  Then we went through and named all the nouns in their garden.  At that point they were losing interest, so we put the gardens on a shelf for the next week.

The next Project Day we added verbs and adjectives, and talked about how the different pieces of the garden might fit together into a story.

GG-2 GG-1

Finally, in the third week we wrote our stories.  A highly motivated child might be able to do this all in one day, but I find that 15 minutes is about our limit, especially with a 6-year old participating!  The kids dictated their stories to me, and I typed them into the computer.

Age 7:

“The brave knight rides the pretty white horse to the dragon’s hill. He climbs the mountain. A red dragon breathes hot fire at the knight. The knight beat the dragon. He climbed the rest of the hill and saw a mean, ugly, and smart alien. The alien was throwing his light-sabers at droids. Then the alien threw Thor’s hammer at a man dressed as a clown.”

Age 9:

“Once upon a time, a rock goblin ate an electric man’s hat. The man was scared of the goblin, so he ran and jumped into the ocean.   Then he saw two sharks, right before he jumped off the ocean diving board. He realized the stupid sharks were artificial. When the electric man got out of the ocean, he saw a Stormtrooper riding a horse with a pet rat.   The Stormtrooper saw Mace Windu carrying a rare crystal on his head, so he stole the crystal and went to worship the tiny dog.”

The Extension

Any favorite toy works for this project.  When my teenager was 7 or 8, her favorite toy was Polly Pockets.  She would build elaborate scenes with them, and then act out a story.  I would write down her story into a “book” (printing paper folded and stapled – super fancy!).  She loved to draw, so she would illustrate her stories.  Those books are some of our favorite mementos from her childhood!

 

Learning Fractions Through Art

One of my areas of frustration with early math learning is fractions.  There’s only so many times we can break a candy bar into pieces, or cut a pan of brownies, or slice a pizza.  Why are all the fraction activities based around food?

The Idea

Explore fractions through art projects.

The Execution

Last week we completed two art projects where we incorporated fractions as a natural part of what we were creating.  The first project was based on Ed Emberley’s Picture Pie book.  I used a large 1-inch circle punch and punched a pile of circles in different colors.  The kids helped me cut some of the circles into halves, quarters, and eighths.  First, we made some of the animals in Picture Pie.  I made sure to use “fraction speak” when asking my kids for pieces: “can you hand me three eighths in orange for the bird’s wings and beak?”

Fractions 1

Bird from “Picture Pie.” Age 5

A few days later my daughter asked to do some more Picture Pie.  We looked at some of the fancy mosaic pictures, and she decided to create her own “Christmas Picture.”  Note that after she glued her mosaic, she embellished her picture with some fraction-esque drawings.

Fractions 2

Age 7

Later in the week we incorporated more of fourths and eighths into our daily Doodles.  I taught the kids a new pattern we called “Flying Saucers.”

Fractions 3

Flying Saucers is in the bottom right quadrant.

We practiced Flying Saucers on scrap paper before starting our Doodles.  Even my 5 year was able to “draw an oval, then draw one line down, draw one line across, and draw four lines from the center out,” breaking the oval into eighths.  Before I even mentioned it, the kids had a collective light bulb moment where they shouted out that we were drawing eighths!  None of them chose to use the new pattern in their daily Doodles, but I later discovered this picture that had been created during free time:

Fractions 4

 

The Extension

We will be returning to these projects later in the year to learn twelfths.  We will also add in fractions from squares and rectangles.

I would like to create some mixed media pieces (cut and paste, markers, pencils, etc) using the ideas we learn from Picture Pie and our Doodles.  Kandinsky is a good inspiration for these pieces.

Composition 8 by Kandinsky

 

 

 

 

20 Ways to Draw…

The Idea

Find a drawing book to bridge the middle years (ages 9-11).

The Execution

My littlest kids (ages 5-7) have always enjoyed Ed Emberley’s drawing books.  But one by one they would grow out of these books, or simply be ready for something a little more challenging, a little more realistic.  I spent years trying to find a good drawing book for ages 9-11, or even a book with simple drawings that weren’t childish.  One day I was browsing the book section at Cass Art in London when I found it!  A whole series entitled “20 Ways to Draw….”  So far we own 20 Ways to Draw a Tree (nature subjects) and 20 Ways to Draw a Cat (animals).

Art 75 Art 77

The Extension

The realistic nature of these drawings makes them a good reference for nature journaling.  Use these drawing techniques and ideas to learn more about leaf and tree shapes, bark texture, snowflake crystals, etc.

Art 47