Teachingartonthecheap's Blog

Third Grade: Area Measurement Color Grid Designs

Posted on: January 4, 2010

Creative Reuse Lesson Plan         Third grade: Measurement

Written by Keri Piehl for SCRAP /Whitman ES 2009-10

Measuring area of colors used in an artwork!

Cost per student: $.02

Materials: a sheet of graph paper (or paper on to which you’ve copied a 1 inch or 1cm grid – I am using paper that’s been copied onto one side already) and a tally chart for each student (see instructions below), 5 crayons or the like for each child.

Students will create a piece of artwork on a grid and subsequently record the total area covered by each of the colors they used to make the art.

Elements of art: color, space, shape

Vocabulary: Grid, area, square inches (or sq. cm, pick a unit of measurement and stick with it).

1. Discuss the concept of area with students. Talk about different ways to measure area; tiling might come up (like using color tiles to cover a surface, make patterns, etc.) Explain that they are going to create an artwork by filling in a surface with color, and then recording the area covered by each color. You could show examples of mosaics, quilts, Chuck Close’s work, or Piet Mondrian’s paintings to show how artists might use similar techniques.

2. Work through the process as a group first, with you making the art and the students offering suggestions. You could easily show this on the whiteboard, overhead or document camera.  Pick 5 colors (leaving some squares white would count as one of the 5 colors; older students might not need to be limited but I feel like this will make it easier for most kids to get to the design of their art if the colors aren’t limitless) and begin to fill in entire squares of color on the grid. You could create a representation of something (like a flower, face etc) or just create a pattern or design that seems pleasing.

3. Students may want to mark their squares with a dot of color and then go back and color in the whole design, or they can find a strategy that works for them. When they are done with their design, they will need to fill out the tally sheet. Go over how this works before letting them begin, since they will finish at variable times and can proceed to this step without you interrupting the kids still in the middle of their art.

4. The tally sheet I am using is shown in the photos; you would probably need to modify it for older students, more colors, a different unit of measurement etc. Have them paperclip their measurement tally sheet to their art. I will display them side by side. A different option would be for the students to use a  glue stick to affix the tally sheet to the back side of their artwork simply so you could check for understanding.

5. There are tons of extensions for this project: using lists of Cartesian coordinates to make grid pictures, incorporate fractions by allowing students to divide squares in half (plus it can add to the complexity of the design), go backwards and hand out a tally sheet with total area of colors to be filled in which they would have to create a design, and so forth.


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