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Interrelating art and math ... and Picasso.

Interrelating art and math...and Picasso

INTERRELATING THE ART CURRICULUM with other areas of the elementary program is part of the challenge of teaching art. An over-sized Picasso is the unlikely result of interrelating a fifth grade math lesson with a drawing assignment.

The students begin by learning to enlarge a drawing on a grid. In their regular classrooms, they work on grids with computers and grid paper. We begin in the artroom with little cartoon drawings. By plotting intersections on the grids, the cartoons are easily enlarged.

Each student is given a segment (approximately 1 1/2" x 1 1/4"; 4 cm x 3 cm) of a cut-up reproduction of a famous work of art. (Note: Be sure to grid the back of the reproduction, assigning consecutive numbers to each space.) To heighten students' interest and excitement, no one is shown the complete picture of what we are reproducing. (In this case, Picasso's Weeping Woman.) Artwork with black outlining and distinct shapes is very helpful for young artists in estimating size and placement. Impressionist paintings with indistinct outlines cannot be easily reproduced by young children!

Each student is also given a transparent piece of acetate that has grid lines drawn on it. When placed over their small segment of the reproduction, the grid divides the segment into quarters. Then, students estimate the size of main shapes and the placement of lines by sketching them onto a large 10" x 12" (25 cm x 30 cm) piece of drawing paper that has been folded and reopened to show quarters. Estimating proves to be difficult for some students and they will need encouragement.

Each student outlines all shapes and lines with a pencil before working with oil pastels. Oil pastels allow the students to "mix" colors and produce results similar to those the artist achieved with oil paints or acrylics.

Students use scrap paper beside their "painting" to try to duplicate Picasso's colors. A camaraderie develops as they help each other create unusual colors and "painterly" effects. Occasionally, students discover that they have a "match;" then, there is a lot of guessing as to what the actual painting looks like. Students guessed that Picasso's Weeping Woman was a flower garden!

The finished pieces are taped in place on the large numbered background paper. Companion pieces are turned and turned again until they match. Slow-working students are urged on as the general form of a woman takes shape and forms become recognizable. The last pieces actually produce cheers and applause.

An important part of the lesson is to discuss the use of a grid in art. (Check in art history books for Degas' extensive use of grids.) We also talk about Picasso and the time in art history when he produced this kind of painting, his use of the elements of art and his journey through abstract forms.

This lesson takes two, hour-long periods and part of a third for evaluation. It meets several objectives in the art curriculum for drawing and painting, and it also reinforces the math concepts of grids and intersecting points.

PHOTO : As the sections of the painting are finished, they are assembled by number on a large

PHOTO : background paper. This is an exciting time as these students piece together Picasso's

PHOTO : Weeping Woman.
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Copyright 1989, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:elementary teaching
Author:Sterling, Barbara
Publication:School Arts
Date:Mar 1, 1989
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