Grade Levels
2nd - 8th
Formats Included
  • Zip
10 pages
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UPDATE 11/25/18- Video instructions are now included in zip file so that you can download and keep them handy on your device / computer. The link to the video (unlisted on Youtube) is also in the lesson. You can use the video for clarification or even just play the video for your kiddos to follow along with as I do in my faux-flipped classroom (works brilliantly for maximizing prep/passing out time as well as for catching up any students who were absent!). Video link is listed in introduction as well as at the top of the written instructions. New rubric, more detailed instructions, materials list with links to exact materials used in my classroom and sample national arts standards were also added in October 2016.

Our school is STEM and AdvancED STEM certified and I have integrated STEAM into my art classroom for the last three years. I am passionate about the integration of the arts within STEM and I believe that there is a natural connection between the arts and innovation, problem solving and creativity- I LOVE STEAM! This is one of the favorite STEAM projects at our school (the students even said so on their surveys!)...

Our third grade students study rocks and minerals early in the year in our STEM lab and regular classrooms. I timed this project to coincide with the STEM lab activities on sedimentary rocks. I start with a PowerPoint review of sedimentary rocks, formation (deposition and solidification of sediment often transported by wind, water or ice and so on…) and images. The PowerPoint is not included in this lesson (I honestly just reviewed my own knowledge with our STEM teacher and used a few bullet points and images off the web). We discuss the patterns, colors and layers found within the sedimentary rocks. We also discuss the concept of abstract art. I did not know how the students would react to this project as an extension of their recently acquired knowledge of sedimentary rocks in the STEM lab and classrooms, but I was thrilled when the students were engaged from the start in the discussion and the process. The kiddos loved this project so much that they went home telling their parents all about it (that is usually when I know that a project has struck gold!)…

This lesson plan was very successful in the art classroom, but it can also be used in a regular classroom as the process is straightforward and the materials are manageable and easy to find (most of the materials may already be in your classroom!)...

**PLEASE READ! I want to give this disclaimer. This project is wildly successful and so many teachers and students have enjoyed and benefitted from this lesson. However, this was one of my original STEAM lessons when the engineering aspect was not pushed in my area as much as it is now. If you are looking for a project with a heavy engineering element, this might not be for you. If you can consider the tearing of the paper and creating/installing a new arrangement with the "layers" to meet your needs for any engineering the governing powers wish to see then you're good! :) I continue to do this lesson within my STEAM classroom as the kiddos just love it and it is such a fun extension to create abstract art based on patterns, colors and formations they've just studied in STEM lab.

Thank you so much and enjoy! :)

Claire Dunaway Cyr

Total Pages
10 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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