Saturday, February 08, 2014

Geometric Art

State testing is coming up soon and it is time for me to pull out my geometric art project. My students test in the morning for 4 days and are just exhausted for the afternoon so I do something fun and relaxing. When my daughter was in 5th grade she did this project and her teacher gave me a copy of it. I have been doing this project every year for over fifteen years and the kids still enjoy it. You will need at least three 45 minute periods to complete two pictures.

To do this project you need to have the following items:
• Black poster board cut into squares to fit templates (construction paper is too thin)
• Tapestry needles (you can buy these at any fabric store, they have a blunt tip and large eyes so the string can go through.)
• Crochet string (buy at the fabric store)
• Copies of templates for each student.
• Copies of directions for each student. (I laminate these and use them over and over each year.)
• Masking tape (Place two long pieces at each desk.)
• Push pin thumb tacks. (They are easier to hold on to.)
• Scissors.
• You can also order other products that are similar from mini math projects. (See the circle picture below.)
I always start with the triangle, it is the easiest one and even my basic level students can do this one successfully. All of my students complete this one first. Then they are allowed to choose one more to work on. I try to direct them to one they will be able to do independently.

Directions:
• Pass out template and cut out on the dotted lines.
• Have the students tape the template on the back of their poster board with masking tape. Do not cover the numbers,
• Pass out the thumb tacks and have students punch a hole in each of the numbered dots on the template. Tell them to place it on the desk and hold it away from where they are punching. Have bandages ready, someone always punches their fingers.
• The students have to give me the thumb tack back before I give them a needle. (Believe it or not they will walk off with them and start sticking each other. (UGH.)
• Then have them pick a color string they would like to use and take a long piece, cut it and thread the needle. Do not have them put a knot at the bottom. It will just go through the paper.
• Tape the end of the string to the template in an area close to the beginning number. Do not cover the numbers.
• Follow the numbers on the directions. When they hit the word CUT, cut the string and tape to the back and pick a new color if they like.

When the students are working on the pentagon they gasp and announce, " It makes a star." and "There is a  pattern to this and I don't even need to look at the numbers." Imagine that.

The hexagon takes longer and students who have patience will need to do this one. The hardest part is to start with the correct  points. I have to help them get started but once they understand the pattern they can work independently.

The apple is another one for my basic level students. I ran out of red string so this student used blue. Sometimes they will do the apple red and the stem green.

The circle is from mini math projects. They sell several kits of string art that are reasonably priced. They also sell neon thread which I haven't been able to find at the fabric stores. With each template there are 15 different designs you can make. The circle below is made with the crochet string I used for the other pictures.

I hope that your students enjoy this as much as mine do.

Jan

1. I remember doing these in 9th grade Geometry! I actually hung up some that my sister had made when she took geometry as decorations last year. My students were SO disappointed that we never made them. Maybe I'll be able to carve out some time after state testing to do them this year...

Thanks for sharing!

2. I would love to see the ones you students complete.

3. Jan, awhile back I posted a short play(!) to my blog about a fictitious math teacher, Matt Table, who incorporates art into the learning to try to engage the mathphobic artists in his classroom. I think you and Matt would get along just fine. Great project!

Glenn Laniewski
PS: Here's a link to the short play for the curious,
http://autismplusmath.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-currency-of-weekly-art-show.html

4. Your blog is quite a find for me. Little did you know that I have a child with autism. I will be a regular reader of your blog and pass it along to the teachers in my school! Thank you!

5. Do you have the apple template? We have the directions, but not the template/pattern sheet. Thanks!

6. I'll look for it Monday when I am back at school and post it. Thanks for stopping by:)

1. Jan - I love your projects! Did you happen to find the Apple template? Thanks so much!

2. Hi Cindy,
The apple template has been finally downloaded. I hope your students are able to use it this year. Thanks for reading my blog!

7. Yes - minimathstringartprojects.com

1. I know, those are amazing projects!

8. Hello,
I am an Art teacher and I was going through some of my projects for ideas for my students. I found my string art project from 2nd or 3rd grade. Looking online for more info I found your blog. I love all the templates and instructions. Could you please post the apple template and instructions and the pentagon template? I greatly appreciate you posting this.

1. Hi Jan,
This summer I am teaching summer school I have the directions for the apple but I have lost the pattern could you please post the template for the apple.

2. Hi Becky,
I have added the apple template as well as a flower template as well. Enjoy!