Our final strategy week is all about art techniques!  One of the most versatile forms for arts integration, visual art has been highlighted on this blog numerous times.  But we still have more strategies to share.  Welcome to visual art week!

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image credit: Elisa Fox (ElisaFox.deviantart.com)

Today’s focus technique for visual art is actually a combination of two separate strategies: Tessellations and Digital Photography.  For those of you who are not familiar, tessellations are mosaics using small squares to make repetitive patterns.  This is a wonderful way for us to connect the arts with Common Core math in a very purposeful and authentic way.  In terms of digital photography, much of the focus is placed composition and using the rule of thirds.  By combining Tessellations with Digital Photography, we have a rich and relevant technique that many students can engage with on multiple levels of understanding.

Here are the Steps:

1. Review a variety of master artworks that use tessellations as a technique.

2. Have students observe copies of the pieces and lay out a grid on the work using a ruler and pencil.

3. Guide students through the discovery process of finding the patterns within the grid.

4. Have students create their own tessellation art using the lesson linked above.

5. Using a digital camera, cell phone or tablet with a camera, ask students to take a picture of items found in nature.

6. Print the pictures and have students re-create their original grid on top of the picture to try and find any patterns that arise in the digital image.

7. Discuss the rule of thirds and that master photographers use this general rule when composing an image in order to find balance within the image or to highlight particular patterns.

8. Allow students to retake their object images using the rule of thirds as their guide to composing the image.

9. Print the new images, recreate the grid using the rule of thirds and look for any new patterns.

10. Draw a new grid on a blank piece of paper and draw a work of tessellation art based on the composed digital image.

This process contains many steps, but the time is well worth it.  The measurement process can be particularly difficult for many students and by allowing them to practice with the framework of the rule of thirds and tessellations, it makes the measurement process more focused and clear.