Kaleidoscopes!

Oh. My. Goodness! We tried a little art thing last week that I once used with my third-grade classes.
Since this was completed in the STEM lab we had to call it STEAM! It's a super easy little project and I am so happy to share it with you!
 I call these Kaleidoscopes.


Materials Needed:

  • white construction paper cut in a square
  • marker
  • black sharpie
  • lots of windows

TIP: For third graders, I have used 12-inch squares and 11-inch squares. For this lab experience, I used 8-inch squares. The bigger the square the longer it takes!

STEP 1

Give every student a square piece of paper and a black sharpie.


Check the number on the photo to follow these steps:
  1. Fold the paper in half.
  2. Fold it in half again.
  3. Fold it corner to corner making a triangle.
  4. You should be able to look at the edges in order to decide which point of the triangle is the center of the square.
  5. Mark the center with a small pencil dot so the kids will not draw in the wrong corner. (Some of them will anyway!)


STEP 2 (IMPORTANT):

Start drawing at the center.

  1. The corner where you see black marks is the center of the paper. Start there with any kind of line you want. The line should go from one side to the other.
  2. Continue drawing lines and designs. Space the drawings apart. DON'T draw little bitty crowded things. Making this too busy is a mistake. It will be hard to trace and even harder to color. Simple is better.
  3.  Keep going all the way to the bottom. After about halfway you can try lines going in a different direction.
  4. This is what it looks like when you open the paper. See the center.

Look at the last photo above (with the red arrow) and you can see why it is important to start drawing in the center. This student started drawing in the wrong corner of the first triangle and the center of the drawing is now at the corners.

JUST A NOTE: I always have kids just draw with a sharpie. You can have them draw the first triangle with a pencil and then trace over the pencil, but that can get a little messy. It also takes longer!

STEP 3

Unfold the paper until it is only folded in half one time.

Go to a window and lay the paper on the glass with the side you drew first on the glass. You should be able to clearly see the lines you drew for that first triangle peeking through the paper. Trace those lines.

Keep unfolding and refolding the paper until you have traced the first triangle seven times. This will create the drawing for the whole page.




Here's one in the process:




STEP 4

Look at the photo above. Can you see that some of the lines do not connect? That is because the lines meet at a fold in the paper. Take your sharpie and connect all lines on the whole paper. I usually help kids do this.


STEP 5

Time to add color!

Choose 4-5 colors that go together well. Start in the center and begin carefully placing colors. This is a huge symmetry task. The way things are colored must be mirrored all over the paper.  I use one of my own with my projector and demonstrate this for kids.

Okay, here are some finished ones:


Ideally, you want the entire paper in color- with no white spaces showing. Also, every little tiny design should be a different color- not huge swaths of marker that cover over the details. That is why you keep the patterns simple!

Below are two that are uniquely colored. The top one is symmetrical, however! The one on the bottom has lots of tiny little boxes that are all the same color. The overall effect works since the bands of color alternate.



This is a super activity. When I had a regular third-grade class we did these at the beginning of the year. When finished I laminated all the pages and then hung them along the top of my window blinds. It made a very personal and quite pretty valance for the windows.

One helpful hint: Try one yourself before you try it with kids!



4 comments

  1. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this project! This would be fun for those last few days of the year. Thanks for sharing.

    Angela

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  2. This is awesome! I am not artistic but think even I could do this! It might be a good Mother's Day project? Thanks so much for linking up. Pinning!
    ~Holly
    Fourth Grade Flipper

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  3. I cannot wait to do this project!!! I am about to start my spring break...I look forward to doing my own Kaleidoscope.

    Thank you for so generously sharing this wonderful idea!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting my blog Savana! These kaleidoscopes are so much fun! It is a project I have tried so many times! Have fun!

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