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Modern Mondrian

Experiment with primary colors and geometric shapes in the style of Piet Mondrian! Create a template to make one huge, ultramodern design!

  • Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Invite students to research art and theories of painting by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian (1872-1944). Notice his use of primary colors and basic geometric shapes divided by solid black lines. Find out how Mondrian used these basic shapes to represent real objects.
    2. To create Mondrian-like art, students cut 1/4-inch (6 mm) strips of oak tag or recycled file folders. Use them to create a grid-like web with various shapes of negative spaces between the strips, much like the black lines in a Mondrian painting.
    3. Use Crayola School Glue to place your pieces in a web that is slightly larger than Crayola Color Explosion™ paper. If Color Explosion™ paper is not available, construction paper can be substituted. Air-dry webs.
    4. Once dry, lay web templates on top of the black side of Color Explosion paper. Tape the edges to the work surface to hold the template in place.
    5. Students trace several of the shapes along the web’s edges. Refer back to a Mondrian painting to help determine how many lines should be left solid and black. When satisfied, remove the web.
    6. Encourage students to choose several shapes to fill with color. Consider the balance of the artwork---spread out the color shapes. Use sweeping lines that barely overlap. Enjoy the BURST of color that Mondrian could have only dreamed about!
    7. Provide an opportunity for students to share their Mondrian-like art pieces with small groups of classmates. Encourage the discussion of how each student incorporated Mondrian research into their original art.
  • Standards

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    MATH: Draw polygons in the coordinate plane given coordinates for the vertices; use coordinates to find the length of a side joining points with the same first coordinate or the same second coordinate. Apply these techniques in the context of solving real-world problems.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

    VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

    VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Coppernickel Goes Mondrian by Wouter van Reek; Piet Mondrian: 1872-1944; Structures in Space by Susanne Deicher

    Students use the same template to create a diagonal design. Compare and contrast the different effects. Trade templates with classmates to make unique versions of a friend's map. Make multiple sheets using the same templates. Display with edges touching to create one large work.

    Students relate Mondrian's work to a street map of their community. Brainstorm what the two have in common.

    Using the coordinate plane, students construct original templates by naming ordered pairs located in all four quadrants. Switch ordered pairs with a classmate. Plot their Mondrian template. How do the two compare? How can the coordinate plane assist with creating a Mondrian template?


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