I'm not sure of your grade level, but "artists as architects" seems to fit
the general approach. How about a homework assignment: measure their
bedroom, major objects, do two (different) schematics of rearranged objects
on graph paper. (Obviously this would be for older kids.) You could do the
intro on the architect part in art, they could finish it in their regular
For younger kids, maybe they could "map" their route to and from school
(how many houses, blocks, where they turn, what they cross); or map out
their routine in the school building itself (homeroom, specials, library,
cafeteria, playground, etc.) The Family Circle cartoon recently showed one
of the kids as he took a VERY rambling route, through all parts of the
building, on his way to the washroom (kind of an aerial perspective).
Two things bothered me:
>she wants it to be an activity that will help them with the testing
That's really her job, not yours.
>I guess part of the test involves them mapping out a garden????
This should not dictate your selection of a project that emphasizes your
curriculum -- ART and geometry (not vice-versa).
Hope this helps :)