Thursday, January 9, 2014

One Point Perspective and Quadrilaterals

It constantly amazes me how art can be such a fun delivery system for teaching math. With the emphasis Common Core places on vocabulary, I am trying to be extra diligent in defining and using math terms as I talk about art this year.

5th graders are currently using quadrilaterals to create one-point-perspective drawings.

Step #1 was actually to make watercolor backgrounds using water drops and salt for extra texture. While those dried on the drying racks, kids started drawing quadrilateral shapes. They could use templates or create their own. Students had the choice of cutting foil for their shapes. (Those of you who have been with me awhile know that I have this (GIGANTIC) box of foil sheets from Smart and Final that I have been trying to use up for YEARS!!)

The next step was to connect the corners of their shapes to a single vanishing point using a ruler. This was an opportunity for some more math language (angles, degrees, parallel, point, etc)

They used colored pencils to shade the "sides" of their shapes, practicing the skill of pressing harder to get darker values.

Next week, we will finish adding color, cut out their drawings and glue them onto their painted background or another background of their choice. I showed students various options for mounting their artwork and asked them to give it some thought during the week how they would like their work to look.

I got the idea for this project from a cool site with high school art ideas, here. That lesson used recycled materials to make some VERY cool 1-point perspective pieces. My version is a bit simpler and I think easier for elementary kids to manage.


  1. I love the way the foil looks here - I am always trying to spruce up my perspective lessons and this should do it, thanks!

    1. You know I bought that box of foil years ago so the kiddos could make shiny plates for their Wayne Thiebaud-inspired birthday cakes. I think the box probably had about a thousand sheets (maybe 7" X 8"). Each year I go to it for little bits and pieces to enhance collage pieces. What a good investment it was!!