This math-integrated art lesson is based on the Japanese design concept of Notan, which focuses on the contrast between light and dark. It is an excellent way to introduce positive and negative space and the concept of mirror-imaging. Some variations offer math connections.
Using only colored paper, scissors, and glue, these designs can be made as simple or as complex as needed to accommodate a variety of student abilities. Simple variations are appropriate for students as young as second grade, while more complex versions can be challenging for older students.
Positive-Negative Notan Design includes the following:
- list of art concepts and skills addressed
- list of materials needed
- targeted art and related vocabulary
- detailed steps for introducing the lesson
- suggestions for read-aloud and art to look at
- directions for art-making
- ideas for extending or varying the lesson
- ideas for looking at and discussing art
- suggestions for making math connections
- suggestions for writing about art
- photographs of student art work for reference
Also included is Creating My Art - an art reflection worksheet
with prompts to help students reflect on their own creative process.
This comprehensive art lesson is designed to teach art appreciation, art technique, and art analysis.
National Core Visual Arts Standards are listed at the beginning of the lesson and in the preview.
Because I teach in California, this lesson also includes a list of the California Visual Arts Standards addressed for suggested grade levels. Please note that listed grade levels are suggestions only; any of these lessons can be simplified or made more complex to work for any elementary grade.
********** PLEASE NOTE *********
This lesson is bundled with two other lessons in Art With Symmetry
Also, a basic description of the lesson, without the full lesson plan or ideas for variations, is included in my GeomARTry
Other math-related art lessons of interest:
Art With Symmetry
Playing With Shapes
For more art-making ideas and suggestions:
Start With Art
-- perfect for back-to-school
Integrating Art Across the Curriculum Sampler Bundle
- a collection of five integrated Art lessons
Making Time For Art
-- a free download
Art Task Cards
-- for early finishers or art centers
I am a retired elementary classroom teacher, a former art teacher, an artist and a writer. I have a Multiple Subjects credential, a Single Subject credential for Art and English, LDS/ESL certification, a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education with a Mathematics focus, and Montessori certification. I have worked with all elementary grades, and with special groups including ELL, GATE, and At-Risk students. Creating Art With Kids
lessons and resources are designed to foster student creativity, choice, and independence, and to encourage authentic art-making. Consideration is given to developmental appropriateness, differentiation possibilities, and teacher individuality. For this reason, directions are general, expectations are open-ended, and clip art on student pages is kept to a minimum.
Visit my blog, Creating Art With Kids,
for detailed descriptions and helpful tips about the teaching process for many of my art lessons.
Other ways to connect with me:
Facebook: Creating Art With Kids
Pinterest: Renee Goularte
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