In 2014 my students collaboratively built a lego mural out of a series of portraits in honor of Black History Month. I have apost about it here. I even put a post together explaining how I organized it and created the resources here.
I have a plan to try another Black History Lego Mural again this year. I really like the format I created where each portrait fits on 6 base plates. This mean I can have an entire class work on one portrait (one part per table). They can see how their small group collaboration feeds into a all class collaboration as the base plates are finished and pieced together. The lesson is not about creativity since they just follow a printed 1:1 scale guide, however it does require patience, collaborative strategies, counting, reading a grid, accuracy, and some problem-solving when lego pieces/sizes become scarce.
New Plan: Emphasizes History
The first time I designed the lego wall project I was scrambling, guessing, and making quick decisions to fit my time constraints. Now that I know that we have enough legos, and what my students capable of (2nd-5th graders do this lesson well) I am going to try to make sure the HISTORY part is emphasized as much as the art making. This new plan will include abolitionists, civil rights activists, a mathematician, and a scientist. Students will watch a video biography for each of the 6 figures from black history to learn more about their contributions and the challenges they faced in their lives.
Resources: Download from TpT
I packaged the resources for two of the murals above. You can download them with instructions, examples, and printable lego guide sheets. MLKJr and Harriet Tubman
1. When I imported my photo into the Photobricks app I needed to know the size plates I have available (10"x 10") and how many bricks that is (32 x 32 bricks). I planned for an image that would be two plates by three plates (6 total plates) so my image had to be set for 64 x 96 bricks. This app makes a 1 brick to 1 brick photo to work from.
2. I needed to inventory the colors we had left and try to limit the color palette to just those choices. This took tons of trial and error to find a combination that still produced an image that resembled the original.
3. I uploaded the photo to blockposters.com. I chose a format that would be two sheets wide. This meant that one sheet would print the same width as my plate (32 bricks). I trimmed each piece to 32 bricks in length as well. I stapled the trimmed sheets to a piece of cardboard and labeled it so students could understand which tile in the overall design they were working on.
4. Now I set up one tile per table with trays of the color bricks each piece needs. This goes pretty quickly when each student takes a corner of the plate, counts, and places each piece. No estimating allowed. Students must be precise to make the mural work.
HINT: This can go fast if everyone helps. If they start guessing instead of counting, this will take ---forever---because they will have to redo and fix their mistakes.
See my previous post for video, resources, my Lego Wall Grant, the School Arts Article, and more images for our Black History Lego Wall. Click here to see our Rotational Symmetry Lego Wall Challenge from 2013.
Thanks to our ABC/25 grant and supplemental funding from Edbacker.com we have a reusable collaborative lego wall. Last year's rotational symmetry challenge was so engaging and fun that we wrote it up for School Arts Magazine. See it here.
This year's challenge will be both fun and informative. Students will be recreating the faces of four important figures from our history while learning more about the important role African Americans have played in shaping the arts, civics, sports, and politics for everyone in the United States. We hope to use this PBSkids interactive game to match faces to events. See how you do at this game.
Unfortunately, it requires Flash and doesn't work on mobile devices.
I used an app called PhotoBricks to create a custom LEGO mosaic that matches the size, number of plates, and color schemes we have available in the art room. Then, I uploaded the images I made to Blockposters.com so I can print them out as guides (see example).
BrainPop: Underground Railroad (requires password)
BrainPop: Martin Luther King Jr. (free)
BrainPop: Jackie Robinson (requires password)
Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold (video by ArtGirlJan)
BrainPop: Fredrick Douglass (requires password)
BrainPop: Black History Spotlight (many choices-need password)
PBS video about LEGO ART (free-5:45 minutes)
Download the MLKjr Lego Mural Lesson
See us at work here:
Update May 12th: Added Oprah!
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View this musical tribute to the hard working teachers at Dryden and the students they love to teach.
Tricia Fuglestad, NBCT 07
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