Kirigami - Whole School

Picture It's the week before Winter break and I had planned to tap into the kids excitement of snow for this project - but since it seems that December is determined to act more like spring than winter there is no extra 'snow excitement'.  I decided to stick with the project anyhow, knowing the kids would love it even if it was raining outside and 50 degrees.

I started out the lesson with the word "Kirigami" on the board and asked students to raise their hand if they thought they might have an idea of what "Kirigami" meant.  I asked them if it sounded like another word we already know.  At this point a bunch of hands flew into the air.

Most times someone would mention cutting paper - or said that maybe Kirigami was like a paper snowflake.  I proceeded to explain that like origami, kirigami is a Japanese word and art form.  The word Kirigami roughly translates to "kiru" = to cut and "kami" = paper.  Kirigami is paper that is folded and then cut - revealing a symmetrical design.

For the younger kids, k-2, we learned what symmetrical was and then 2-5th learned that sometimes  there can be more than one line of symmetry.  I proceeded to draw some basic shapes on the board and asked students to show me on their fingers how many lines of symmetry an equilateral triangle would have.  I then waited for all hands to show me a number before I had a student come up and draw a line of symmetry.  We repeated this with a square as well.  Students really got into trying to figure out how many ways you could divide a shape in half while still having it be the same on both sides! 

I transferred this idea back to their kirigami, by explaining that their kirigami would most likely have 2 or 4 lines of symmetry depending on how they cut it. 

Next we passed out square pieces of paper, folded the first one together, drew on shapes, cut out - and then the students had the rest of class to make as many snowflakes as they wanted.  I had the Kinders and 1st graders fold their paper into a mountain and then fold their mountain in half.  The 2-5th grade students did the same as the younger kids but then folded it one more time in half. 

During this lesson students learned and practiced:
1- Symmetry and lines of symmetry
2- cutting techniques
3- folding
4- visualization
5- problem solving
6- asking for help

For a few of the classes I drew "challenge" patterns on their papers -- they loved the challenge and their end snowflake!


Whole School - Lines and Shapes for Snowflake Wrapping Paper

It's that time of year again - only two weeks before Winter vacation and students are excited!!  I decided last year to make wrapping paper with my students and it was a HIT!  Making wrapping paper taps into their excitement for the holidays without doing a "Christmas" project.

This year I thought about doing the same lessons as last year since I am in a new building - but a fellow Art teacher posted a picture by James Gulliver Hancock, "All the Snow in Montreal".  This picture was the perfect inspiration for our wrapping paper this year!

Students and I first made a few snowflakes are the board by them offering shapes for my base.(The 2nd Graders are studying symmetry in math after break - so I did a quick lesson about symmetry - what it is and how many lines of symmetry does each snowflake have?)

After a few snowflakes as a class they were ready for paper to make their own!

The rules were easy: no snowflakes could be the same!

I encouraged the older kids to think about colors and maybe keep a theme of colors or do all of them one color and then have one snowflake be a different color!

We rolled these up at the end of class with a chenille sticks and a note that says, "Please use my snowflake paper to wrap a gift this season".