Monday, March 19, 2012

Math and Murals- Geometric shapes and little ones

What is usually the first thing we teach preschoolers and 
primary aged children? 
The basic geometric shapes: circles, squares, triangles, ovals, etc. 

When you teach a child about shapes you are building a wonderful foundation to creating art. 
In every piece of art there are shapes. You might not see the shapes but when you break down a famous painting the shapes are there. Ovals for the eyes, the face may be a heart, square or round.
 I always show students how to create items out of shapes. 

 On my last post I showed how process and product work together to create a beautiful 
Mexican Marketplace Mural.  

 Mexican houses in the Garden is another one we did.

First we used painted paper that was done in a previous class. 

Next came the shapes. Squares or rectangles for the base of the house. The roof is where students added the complex geometric shapes. That is right, Complex Geometric Shapes! 
Trapezoids, triangles, pentagons. 
Yes, a child can handle using these complex shapes and they see these shapes in their daily life. 

These roofs were made into a triangle first, then stair steps were cut. A easy way to get a symmetrical shape is to fold the paper in half, draw out the design, then cut.

Window and doors were added then oil pastels were used 
to create a design on the roof.

The Mural was a large black sheet of display paper hung on a white board. Students then were asked “What kind of a magical flower would grow in our garden?” 
Large brushes and many colors were allowed to be used. A group of students painted their flowers first, then another group of students used oil pastels to add designs to the flowers. 

The process of exploring paint on paper, “PAINTED PAPER”, 
was the first step, then the students created another
 project from the process. 
Lastly, a large mural was done collaboratively.  This “layering is my style of teaching”. I think it works great! There is exploration as well as learning some important Geometric Shapes!

Laura is a elementary art teacher who is the author of the blog Painted Paper. She has presented her thematic units nationally at the National Art Education Association and Ohio Art Eduction Association Conferences. You can follow her updates on fun and creative projects for kids here


  1. This is a great example of how art embodies so much more than simply painting, drawing, collage, etc. Maths, literacy, science & self discovery can all be present as children engage in the creative process. Thanks for sharing Laura.

  2. Spot on! I always break down difficult drawings into simplest terms....I mean, you don't teach difficult words to kids without breaking them into letter sounds, root words, why would we teach art that way?! My kids are often amazed how every picture is a series of shapes. I love their little faces when we're finished with (what is seemingly) a difficult drawing :) nice mural!

  3. What a beautiful mural ... and I love your emphasis on shapes in its creation! I pinned your post to my Kids' Art Projects Pinterest board at

  4. I love shapes :D
    I love to play the shapes game


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