Sunday, August 14, 2016

Radial Paper Relief Sculptures (2015/16)

If you havn't seen Art with Mrs.Nguyens posts on these babies (this is just one of her many posts on it) then you have been seriously missing out. Her TpT lesson for these is worth every penny and worked perfectly for my 4th graders. I did change up the powerpoint a bit to fit my style but other than that I used all of her resources, including the video teaching the folds. 

I Can create a relief sculpture using paper that has radial symmetry.
I Can use color in an organized way.

Before you do anything to start this project, cut about a billion* pieces of 3x3 construction paper in all different colors. After cutting I divided up into ice cream buckets, one for each table.
*There is really no way to know how much of what colors they will use. I started with 4 pieces of 12x18 construction paper of every color that I had and cut more as they used them.

Day 1: Learning and practicing radial symmetry.
Using the awesome powerpoint by Mrs. Nguyen and modified by me, I introduced radial symmetry to my students and then we spent the rest of class with my buckets of "junk" making radial symmetry on big 24x24 sheets of paper. The paper has basic radial symmetry guidelines drawn on them and students work in table teams to create the most interesting radial symmetry.
My only warning with this is sometimes they get carried away with the "junk" and start getting in fights about what table has what and who can borrow and who can't. Squash it fast.

Day 2: Review radial symmetry and learn the folds. Talk about organized color.
After a review of radial symmetry I show them the handouts that teach the folds and we watch the video of learning the folds (both by Mrs. Nguyen) together. Then they grab one piece of 3x3 paper for each fold and go back to their seats. We watch the video again, pausing where needed to follow along making the folds. This process worked really well because those that got it right away kept going and those that didn't followed slowly with the video.

 After we finished all the folds they went nuts folding whatever they wanted to use for their project and put them in a big envelope with their name on it for next class. Students that had more difficulty with the folds met me at the carpet and we went through the video again (maybe 1 or 2 kiddos per class). A little ways through I brought them all back up front to talk about our I Can statement of using color in an organized way. They had a choice of either using color symmetrically or using patterns and balance with color. I showed a lot of examples from Mrs. Nguyen's powerpoint.

Day 2: Another review, folding the background.
We reviewed radial symmetry again by looking at a variety of pictures and they had to use plickers to tell me if the image had radial symmetry or not. Check out the video below to see how plickers works. Its seriously the best. AND FREE. AND students LOVE it.

 After that they grabbed the black paper (12x12 square) and we walked through the folds together as a class to get the folded guidelines for their paper relief sculptures.

At this point the workflow became different for different students. Some wanted to fold everything before gluing and some folded and glued at the same time. It didn't matter to me as long as I could see them making smart choices in their art.

I highly recommend using glue sponges for this project. It allowed for such clean and beautiful work. We used popsicle sticks to rub down the paper that was in a tight space if their fingers wouldn't fit.

Days 3-6: Workdays and extensions.
Give them a lot of time on these, it is so very worth it and hopefully they will love this project as much as mine did. Towards the end when some were finished and some weren't, I had two follow up activities they could do. Make a radial symmetry drawing out of their favorite things, or make a group radial symmetry paper relief sculpture on 24X24 paper.


  1. Thanks for the shout out!! :)
    These turned out great!

  2. Thanks for the shout out!! :)
    These turned out great!