Teaching math can be challenging, but this year I have made it my goal to do more hands-on math projects rather than all pencil paper worksheets and tasks. As great as that idea sounds, it can be time-consuming, and the demands on teachers certainly aren’t going away which makes this seem more difficult! However, I truly love seeing my student’s faces as they work away on these math projects, so to me, that’s all I need!
I recently thought of an idea to squeeze into our (very brief) geometry unit this year. I was so excited to plant this idea into my two classes and watch them run with it! The best part is that it incorporated art, which most of my students enjoy, and I already had most of the materials or borrowed what I didn’t have!
The students had to use our pattern block manipulatives to come up with a stained glass window design. They were supposed to use ONLY these shapes for their main design. Once they arranged their design with pattern blocks, they traced each shape with a pencil and then outlined in sharpie. Finally, they colored the design. (I allowed them to do different things on the background area and add little things here and there once we got started like faces etc.)
The math project portion also requires them to fill out what they know about the shape attributes. You can find that project in my TPT store here.
After the math project was completed, we made these stained glass designs more real by making them on lamination that was going to be trash anyways!
To do this, you will need:
- lamination- ask your school to save you the foot or so that gets wasted when you run something through and its at the end. My school is large, so within 3 days I had enough for my 46 students!
- liquid glue
- black paint
- other color acrylic paint
- small paintbrushes
As I said, the lamination was going to be trash, and I already had the acrylic paint from a project from last year. You can usually get a set at Michaels with a coupon for a reasonable price. I borrowed the brushes from my art teacher.
- Cut the lamination to the size of the project. The math project used a pretty small rectangle size, about 8″ x 5″. The size should be a little bigger than the project so the students can hold onto the sides to move their project around.
- Mix the glue and black paint: to get the nice outline, empty about 1/4 of the glue bottle if it is full. Add some black paint and SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE! The more filled the bottle is, the harder it is to mix, so leave some space.
- The first day, have students tape their lamination to their design so they can go over their outlines in the black glue. **SHOW YOUR STUDENTS HOW TO DO THIS!** My class are 8-9 year olds and most of them were fine, but they needed to see how lightly to squeeze the bottle and how to not go over lines they already did, etc.
- After students have done their outline, the project will need to dry overnight. I added a small piece of masking tape to the extra part of the lamination, wrote their name, and let it dry for 24 hours!
- Set up paints ahead of time! Once they know they’re about to paint, both of my classes became a little impatient waiting for their materials 🙂
- Again, I recommend showing students how little paint they need on their brush and how they need to be careful not to paint on their outline.
- Pass out paints, brushes, water to clean brushes etc.
- Let them go! Students should paint with VERY little paint! These should also dry for 24 hours.