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
Using the DoInk Animation app to digitally rotate the lego designs not only extends the lesson digitally, it serves as an assessment to determine if the designs are rotationally symmetrical.
Students can add their own photo over the rotating design using a size change to indicate falling. The 2nd tutorial below shows the steps for creating this project. It would also help you just rotate the masked lego design (like above) if you skip adding the figure.
View my interview with Corey Engstrom of Teacher Tech Trials about this project below.
Our Rotational Symmetry Lego Wall
-made completely by second graders using our collaborative method of taking a turn
Made physically & assessed digitally
After students made their lego plates, they used a digital image of it to do a test for rotational symmetry. They masked it into a circle using the Superimpose app then put it in the Do Ink animation app to make it rotate. See the video below to view the process and their results.
This is the movie made from students' digital animations of their lego plates.
We're going to celebrate International Dot Day in the art room with a coloring collaboration. Each of these three paintings by Vincent Van Gogh have been converted into coloring pages then enlarged into oversized posters (using blockposters.com). 4th graders are going to each get a piece of the puzzle to color as we watch the videos below about Dot Day and Van Gogh's life/work. We will see how our unique mark making combines with others as we fit all the pieces together on the mural wall. There is no right or wrong, just a chance to learn about Vincent van Gogh while we color and be apart of a collaboration. So, let's VAN GOGH AHEAD AND MAKE OUR MARKS!
We are kicking off our Character Counts Week at Dryden with a new LEGO MURAL idea focused on the six pillars of character. Students will be collaboratively building 6 murals that each state and represent responsibility, Caring, Trustworthiness, Fairness, Citizenship, and Respect.
Students will be listening to a story that highlights each pillar of character as they work. Thanks to Melissa Techman for finding these six animated tumblebooks.
This character counts song was written and performed by Dryden Students in art class years ago. It will be our background music as we work.
MY LEGO MURAL RESOURCES:
Watch the students at work below. I captured many classes with time lapse, photos, and video while they painted and sang about making their mark.
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.
View our Entry for the What's Your Story
Internet Safety Contest
(Won the 2nd Place Prize)
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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