Monday, February 7, 2011

2nd Notan Project

For this project, 5th graders began the same way as my previous post, applying strips of a musical score for their first layer. However, cutting the square is different, and while it seems more complicated, was actually easier for the kids. This was a VERY directed lesson during the first part where they made their initial folds and cuts. But after that, once they understood the process of light against dark, the kids were on their own to make creative cuts however they wished.

First, here are some results (you'll see they are a bit different from previous notan results):

And here is how I taught it:
"First, fold your square in half."

"Then, fold it in half again."

"Open it up so you are looking at that first folded square, with the fold part at the top. Starting at the bottom, near the side (but not right on the corner) start to cut diagonally up. Before you get to that top fold, at the midway point, curve and come diagonally back down. It is important that you end your cut on the same side as you began it. The shape is sort of like a mountain. Save those 2 mountain pieces."

"Next, open your original shape . . .

". . . and fold it down the other way. It will look like this. Be sure to keep that little fold piece at the top."

"Now, we are going to cut another little mountain shape, only with curvy lines." I did this so that all the mountain shapes wouldn't look alike and it would be easier for kids to tell them apart later.

At this point I had the kids use gluestick and glue the X- shaped piece down in the center of their paper on top of the music paper and loosely place their mountain shapes in their matching places. They DO NOT glue the mountain shapes yet!!!!!!!!!

"Starting with ONE mountain shape, make a cut, following the line of the mountain, so you now have a little mountain and a mountain strip above it. Put some glue on that strip on the side facing up (not the underneath side)."

"Now, flip that strip to the outside and press the glue down. Line up the two ends of that strip with the line of the outside square corners."

"Going back to your little mountain shape, make another cut -- wiggly lines look pretty good here."

"You are going to flip that littlest shape out, gluing, and then glue the other mountain shape where it is, to the inside. Again, the base lines should line up on that same imaginary line that extends from corner to corner." (Not all students got that concept right away -- it is what I helped most with.)

After the students did this first side, with me checking and helping those who needed reassurance, they were on their own to complete the other three sides and worked without much help from me.

This was a fun project and the possibilities are endless for variations. Hope you give it a try and enjoy it!!


  1. Thank you for the step-by-steps! It really helps. I like the (unfinished) sample on the red paper - striking!

  2. Another teacher onsite has done these with her classes before, but your addition of the musical scores is a great addition. Especially on the blue paper underneath. It takes it too a whole new level!

    If you follow up with the papel picado projectlet me know and i'll link up to it in my post.

  3. I haven't done Notan in over a year. I believe this has inspired me to bring it back :)