Saturday, November 8, 2014

Mondrian Inspired Cubes!

One of the perks of teaching a lesson the first time is that you can use student suggestions and input to make it way better than you intended. I luckily have a great batch of 5th graders that start my rotation out to give me really great input!

I love Mondrian, no matter how boring some people might think his work is, I see such beauty and simplicity in the basic primaries. I just can't resist sharing Mondrian and his work with my students but I do like to mix it up ergo the cubes. I did the project below with my 2nd graders and Mondrian last year.

Day 1: Intro to Mondrian. I give them a little background info about him and then we watch this seriously amazing animation of his work on YouTube.

We look carefully at a few of his works and then I introduce the project by talking about cube vs. square. The rest of the class is spent creating their template for their cube by tracing pre-cut 4x4 squares onto a 1/2 sheet of poster board and following this guide I made them :)

Day 2: Right away when they come in, I show them more SERIOUSLY awesome YouTube videos inspired by Mondrian.

The music isn't great for this one so I usually mute it...

They freak out over this one...

So here is the part where they changed my mind:

Originally on my example I only did traditional Mondrian (square/rectangles/black lines) and they were like "Lets do any geometric shapes or shapes with straight edges only." After pondering a moment I was like "THAT SOUNDS AWESOME" And tada!

Here are a few mid-process ones...

After 3-4 more work days these beautiful cubes were born and held together with tacky glue!

Hints for the cube:
I had pre-cut 6"x12" strips of each primary and 4"x12" black for them to use to limit paper waste.

Put them together last, they don't take up too much space week to week if you wait until the end

Score all of the edges and tabs with a ruler before working on the designs and re score right before putting it together... makes things A LOT easier.

Check out these stunning works! By the way, I was inspired by this everywhere on Pinterest post for this project...

Jefferson Elementary...

McDill Elementary...


  1. They look great all,stacked together!!!

    1. Thanks! It was really fun for me to display them, as students finished I added them to the case over two weeks so it was exciting seeing it with all of them done!

  2. The very first and all of the last pictures didn t open up for me.

  3. Did you have students use tracers to draw the tabs? Any tips on what you told them for that part of the cube? Thanks! I'm going to try this with my students.

    1. It was quite a bit ago, I think it was just a draw along. They traced squares and added the tabs on their own with a printed out guide if I remember correctly.

  4. Hey Kelsey!
    I´m Sara from Spain, I love Mondrian too and just looking for something different to do in 5th grade. All your ideas have been wonderful! I´ll try them, thank you so much!!