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Lesson Plans

Math/Art ideas for Spring

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
MaryAnn Kohl (maryann)
Wed, 21 Apr 99 14:47:33 -0700

I've been feeling kind of springy and thought it might be time to share some outdoor and springy warm weather art ideas ... these have the particular difference of being mathematics related for young children, which is unusual. The following two ideas come from the book MathArts. Maybe I should mention that I post these copyrighted ideas to you so that you should feel free to use them, copy them, give them to someone else, whatever. Don't worry about any of that part of things at all. Have fun!

Partner Square Painting
Note: This activity is for partners (indoor or outdoor). If you would like to see the illustration, go to and then to "Free Activities" or "MathArts", choose activity Partner Square Painting.
math=the whole and its parts
Chalk grid lines are snapped onto the large sheet of paper, forming sections that are then painted-in. The design comes together and shows how the sectioned parts of the paper make up the whole design.
newsprint to protect floor
butcher paper taped to the newsprint on the floor, about 3' x 3' square
sidewalk chalk
4' length of heavy twine
tempera paints and paintbrushes
aprons or shirts to cover artists
2 or 3 children

1. Cover about a 5' x 5' area of floor with newsprint to protect from spills.
2. Tape a large square of butcher paper to the center of the newsprint.
3. Stretch a length of twine between two artists. A third artist rubs chalk back and forth on the twine until it is well coated with chalk.
4. The two artists kneel on either side of the large square paper, holding the twine tight across the paper at floor level.
5. For the amazing fun moment, one of the partners or a third person lifts the center of the twine a few inches then lets it snap back to the paper, leaving a chalk line on the paper.
6. Repeat the chalking of the twine. This time, move the twine over about 5"-6" and snap again.
7. Repeat about six times, crossing over the first lines so that the squares appear on the paper each time (see illustration). It is common for the shapes to resemble squares but not quite true squares. Working together is a challenge!
8. When the paper is covered with chalk squares, paint the squares with tempera paints. Leave some squares blank, if desired. Leave in place and dry several hours. When dry, notice how the parts of the squares make up a whole; the large butcher paper is sectioned with many colorful smaller squares.

€ Segment a chalkboard or sidewalk into a grid and use colored chalk to color in the squares.
€ Use a carpenter's chalk-line tool that comes in blue.

Another idea from MathArts ---
Another form of art: Landscaping!! This would be fun for spring when the ground is warming up and ready for planting! The results are a lovely garden with a pattern of blooms! Planting flowers and growing a garden can produce an abundance of colorful patterns, but planning the design is the first step.

Flower Garden Landscape

outdoor planting area, such as -
garden plot, planter box, raised flower bed
flower seeds
garden tools, such as - rake, shovel, spade, hoe
rain and sunshine

1. On a nice spring day when frost is no longer a threat, prepare a planting area outdoors. Remove weeds, grass, rocks and debris. Break soil into small pieces. Smooth and pat the soil to accept the planting.
2. Using a stick, draw out a design of where the seeds will be planted. Consider creating a pattern based on any or all of the following:
height of mature flowers
color of flowers
blooming time of flowers
size of blossoms
3. When ready, plant seeds in the planned landscape design pattern.
4. Care for the garden, keeping weeds out, making sure there is enough water and sunshine.
5. Enjoy the flower landscape design as the flowers bloom in the planned planting pattern.

€ Plant flowers to bloom in sequence, such as a circle of flowers where the center blooms first, and then concentric circles blooming out to the edges.
€ Plant one type of flower in a small pot or cup. Plant as many pots as desired. When in bloom, arrange in a pattern.
€ If an outdoor area is not possible, plant flowers in an indoor tub, wading pool, sandtable, box or tray.

These excerpts from the book:
MathArts©1996, MaryAnn F. Kohl and Cindy Gainer, Published by Gryphon House, Inc., Box 207, Beltsville MD 20704,
For your information, other free activities from this book are available at the website.

MaryAnn F. Kohl (WA)