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Lesson Plans

Re: organic vs. geometric

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henry (taylorh)
Thu, 27 Mar 1997 20:04:48 -0700 (MST)

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On Thu, 27 Mar 1997 Laurann65 wrote:

> This may be a stupid question - but how do you describe the difference
> between geometric & organic shapes to Elem. students? Another Art teacher &
> I disagreed about weather or not stars & hearts are geometric or organic (I
> thought they were organic). Looking for answers. Thanks! :)
> Laura Allan

Geometric shapes can be constructed geometrically with straight-edge and
compass (That needle and pencil contraption for drawing circles from
before computer aided drafting.)

Both star and heart can be constructed in such a manner so technically
they are geometric.

Organic shapes used to be amoeba shaped things or non-regular spirals and
twists like vines. Since Fractals however things may technically be in
the proverbial cocked hat. Traditionally Art Nouveau with all its vines
and tendril, its flowing fabrics etc. was the epitome of the Organic
design. Baroque and Rococco eras were also considered bastions of organic

Basic rule of thumb... if it looks like it might have grown from a seed
or if it looks like it could move or is moving like The Blob, a snake, a
branch or a blade of grass its organic. If it looks like its built out of
a set of blocks, fancy or plain, if it looks unlikely to move. If it
contains very straight lines or mechanical circles or non-logrithmic
spirals (spirals like on a CD and not like on a seashell) then it's
probably geometric.

Gottcha confused yet? Maybe it would be better to save the nomenclature
until the shapes are mastered THEN point to them and practice identifying
them by their formal names or categories. I'd aim for 4th-6th grades myself.


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