Possible Classroom Concepts: Mathematics – Geometry (Shapes), Pattern
Language Arts – Literature, Social Studies – Communities
Possible Art Concepts: Art History – Paul Klee, Mary Blair, Sonia Delaunay, Rob Dunlavey, Jacob Lawrence, Josef Albers
Elements Of Art (Shape, Color), Collage, Pattern
Just as Paul Klee’s quote, “A line is a dot that went for a walk.”, explains what a line is, Rhonda Gowler Green’s picture book title, When a Line Bends…A Shape Begins , explains how a shape is formed. Shape is another Element of Art, the building blocks of all artworks. So, famous artworks are a natural place to spy shapes and their characteristics. Two great picture books that can help you accomplish this task are I Spy Shapes in Art by Lucy Mickelwait and Museum Shapes by The Metropolitan Museum of Art. As Mickelwait points out in her book, one can expand the “I Spys” in these books beyond the text. Look here to see the imaginative way this Mom used I Spy Shapes in Art in a math lesson for her sons.
Paul Klee’s “Red Balloon” and “Castle and Sun”
If you choose not to go the book route, let me point out some artists who are famous for using shapes in their artwork. First we’ll return to our old friend Paul Klee. Not only is he famous for lines, but more so for using geometric shapes to create abstract compositions. One can see he is depicting a balloon, a sun and buildings without them appearing realistic. You could use these two paintings for identifying geometric shapes, counting, identifying sets of shapes, etc. You could also combine your geometry lesson with a social studies communities unit. Love this lesson. It combines geometry, communities, literature, art history and friendship all in one lesson. Mary Blair , animator and designer of Disney’s It’s a Small World ride, also created buildings and castles from basic shapes. I love the community extensions found in this shape community unit. Find a video highlighting shapes in architecture here. Another artist, Sonia Delaunay, is famous for creating shape patterns for fabrics. Find a short bio and some examples of her work here, here and here. Rob Dunlavey used shapes to create many abstract people doodles. Look here to see some examples. There is even an artist, Josef Albers, who painted squares. The book, An Eye For Color, The Story of Josef Albers, by Natasha Wing explains how investigating one shape led this artist into an exciting investigation into color theory.
As you can see it isn’t much of a stretch to throw a few famous artworks into the shape portion of your geometry unit. I hope you will.
I’d love to hear how you have used art in a math unit. Simply highlight the title of this post and scroll to the bottom to leave a comment.
Hope to see you again real soon!