Overview: Lesson exploring order and classification through Math and Visual Art
Since we finished up our Early Childhood online workshop, I thought it would be a great time to share an arts integration lesson seed focusing on our youngest learners. Today’s lesson idea combines a Common Core Math Standard and a Visual Art Standard from the National Core Arts Standards:
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.1.MD.A.1: Order three objects by length; compare the lengths of two objects indirectly by using a third object.
VA:Cr2.3.1: Identify and classify uses of everyday objects through drawings, diagrams, sculptures, or other visual means.
Essentially, in math students are asked to view objects of various sizes and compare their lengths. They can compare the lengths using a ruler, or any other object such as a pencil or a piece of paper. In this lesson, we ask students to observe the various shapes found on their school building and compare them in size. We start by making observations using photographs or by walking around the school itself. Then, we transition to looking at a set of blueprints of the school and compare what we saw with how it’s represented in a blueprint fashion.
Finally, we ask students to create their own school building representations using shapes of various sizes. They trace these and again observe the difference between the outline of a shape and the shape itself. Finally, we have students create a block printing using the shapes they originally cut out. In the lesson, I highlight using a Gelli plate (simply for ease of use), but you could use a variety of tools at your disposal for the printing part.
There is a sophisticated set of skills that is being utilized in this lesson with our young learners. Manipulating and measuring shapes can be a challenge, as can be the comparison of an outline versus the “real thing”. It’s relying heavily on abstract thinking and the ability to problem-solve. This is lesson takes between 45-75 minutes to complete and can be done in either the math or visual art classroom.
Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.