Saturday, January 12, 2013

Math and Art:Snowflakes and Radial Symmetry


I love Pinterest. Actually, I think it's required for teachers to love Pinterest. On several boards I've seen ideas on what to do with paper towel rolls. For an art teacher on a budget, paper rolls are a free medium so I took note.

It's also no secret that I love snow. I thought that my fourth graders could use the rolls to make snowflakes. I also thought this would be a great project to introduce symmetry and radial symmetry. Not only is symmetry part of the principles of design (under balance), but it is also part of the fourth grade math standards.


We talked about symmetry, line of symmetry, and radial symmetry. We did an activity were the students identified objects as being symmetrical, and located the line of symmetry.


The students then cut one inch sections of the paper rolls and painted them white. They mad as many as they could until the end of class.


The next class, we reviewed our vocabulary and assembled the snow flakes. They first laid out how they wanted to assemble the flakes and then glued the pieces together. Some students needed to cut more pieces.


Something to note though is that the curls must be made from previously painted rolls. If you try to paint a curl, all the water from the paint will soak into the cardboard and unroll the curl. I learned this lesson while trying to make my teacher example.


The last class was spent painting any areas that needed it. They then dipped one side of the flake in glue and then into glitter.


Now, glitter is way out of my comfort zone. It gets everywhere and is not my favorite medium, but it really finishes the flakes. I decided to set up an assembly line for the glitter, that way it stayed contained to one area.


While some came out symmetrical and some radial, I think they look really nice. I put a string on each one so that they could be displayed on a door knob, in a window, or on a tree.


This will definitely be a project that I do next year!

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