The 3rd graders are continuing their study of shape this week. They are focusing on natural shapes. We took a look at the work of Mitjili Napurulla
to help us with our understanding of these types of shapes. Mitjili lives and works in the Haasts Bluff community in Northern Australia. Her artwork is rich in natural imagery and patterning.
I begin the lesson with a quick review of the mudcloth project they did last week that was inspired by the work of Nakunte Diarra. As students recall vocab and concepts I write them on the white board, so they can refer to them later when completing their exit slips.
When I introduce Mitjili
and her work, I write key vocab under the mudcloth concepts for easy compare and contrast. Students notice there are not nearly as many geometric shapes in her work, she uses a wide range of colors, and she repeats shapes to make patterns. These patterns often symbolize things from Mitjili's home and history. I remind the classes that Nakunte's patterns also represented things from her history and culture.
The students are to make a natural shape pattern design inspired by Mitjili's work. However, they will use natural forms from San Diego to create their designs and patterns. I share with them photos of torrey pines, jade plants, agaves, cacti, and beach side cliffs. These images, as well as completed examples are on the smartboard while students are creating their designs. Students may also base their patterns on other San Diego related natural shapes.
Before they start patterning, I have the students fold their paper into equal quarters and label them as fractions like they did last week. When they draw their patterns, one of the 3 should take up 1/2 the paper, while the other 2 take up 1/4 each.
Once the drawing is done, students add color with oil pastels. The color choices are entirely up to them.
When their coloring is done, students complete an exit slip that asks them to identify similarities between the 2 focus artists' work and it asks them to identify how their design is different than Mitjili's.