Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The figure 5 in gold

I stole my husbands nice camera and took it to school to take some photos...he wasn't super happy but I got some new photos to post;)
A while back I had the 2nd and 3rd graders look at the work I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold and read and listen to the poem that goes with the painting The Great Figure.

I put a picture of the original painting, a copy of the poem and a explanation of the project up on the bulletin board. No school staff or admin seemed to notice the display but a few parents read the poem and some kinder, 4th and 5th graders spent time looking at it so that is something.

When looking at the original painting I had students look for shapes, colors and lines. We found the hidden fire truck and talked about how the artist used diagonal lines to make it look like the fire truck was moving fast. Next we brainstormed our favorite number and drew it LARGE on 8"x 14" paper. Students could color in their number with oil pastel or wait to paint it with watercolor.

Next we talked about repetition and unity. We drew our favorite number small three or 5 more times around the paper and then added three circles in various sizes. I had students color their circles in with oil pastel. Then we used DIAGONAL lines to dived our paper into smaller spaces.

The next class we re-read the poem and reviewed the elements of art we found in the painting. Then I had students use watercolor to paint their background spaces. They could choose one area on the paper that I would paint with my forbidden 1970's gold powdered tempera paint that I keep hidden in the back of my cabinet.

The project was perfect for both 2nd and 3rd grade but the paper was too large for the 2nd graders. Next time I will use standard letter size paper for 2nd grade and the larger paper only for 3rd grade.
click to enlarge

I think this lesson is a great way to combine art, math and literacy!


  1. Nice! I love that painting and what your students created!

  2. Cool! There are a lot of ways to use math with this like use your birth date and add/subtract/multiply the numbers to get new ones to use your painting. Numbers are every where birthdays, ages, homeroom numbers, addresses, phone favorite players (baseball etc) I can't think of more right now! But there are so many ways that numbers become personal. . . especially favorite numbers. Always play my favorite number!