Sunday, October 25, 2015

3rd Grade Mondrian-inspired Abstracts

Artwork by Colin

Over the course of his career, the style of Piet Mondrian evolved from the figurative to the purely abstract, breaking down into the most basic of art elements - straight lines, simple shapes, and primary colors.  I use this lesson to teach a little about coordinate systems and coordinate pairs (our discussion of longitude and latitude ties in well with their upcoming map unit in Social Studies) as well as reinforce these art elements and introduce the students to Mondrian.  First, the students get some practice with a straight edge, creating a grid of one hundred square and rectangular spaces by drawing nine straight lines vertically and horizontally.  Inevitably, some students have a few crooked lines, so we turn these into thicker lines, which only makes the final works look more like a Mondrian. We also purposely space the lines randomly in order to create spaces of varying sizes.  The grid is then numbered one to ten along the bottom and up the left side.  In a second session, students randomly select coordinate pairs from a baggie with one hundred number pairs written on small slips of paper and color the specified space either red, yellow, blue, or black with marker.  They repeat this process 12-15 times before erasing their grid numbers and "taking over" their artwork, deciding how best to balance it out by coloring in some of the remaining spaces.  I think the finished works are very "Mondrianesque."

Artwork by Cassidy

Artwork by Maggie

Artwork by Xavier

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