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        4-6, 13+

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        Part of KET
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        Math + Arts | Dragon Scales

        In this lesson, students create a class mural by using scale, ratio, and proportion.

        Lesson Summary

        There are three options for this lesson, depending on class needs and time available:

        1. Frame, Focus, and Reflection (view and discuss): watch the video from The World of Mural Painting. As a class, critique one of the murals in the video (stop to view).

        2. Short hands-on activity: any of the activities from The World of Mural Painting are appropriate

        3. Project: create a class mural of a dragon. Write a how-to article about creating the mural.

        Time Allotment

        1. Frame, Focus, and Reflection (view and discuss): 1 class period

        2. Short hands-on activity: 1-4 class periods

        3. Project: 1-4 class periods

        Learning Objectives


        I can interpret multiplication as scaling (resizing).

        I can apply scaling to solve a real world art problem.

        Arts and Humanities

        I can participate in an oral critique of a mural using appropriate terminology.

        I can discuss the applications of math and technology in visual art.

        I can collaborate with my peers to make artistic decisions.

        I can collaborate with my peers to create a mural using the elements of art and principles of design and making use of proportional math.

        Prep for Teachers

        Narrative art tells a story

        Structures: Color schemes, texture, focal point, and contrast (see PowerPoint and visual arts elements handout)

        NOTE: If possible, collaborate with your school’s art teacher to complete the mural.


        Dragon image handout for each student

        Grid, graph, or isometric paper

        There are several options for creating the class mural, each requiring different materials:

        • Drawing paper and colored pencils, crayons, and markers
        • Watercolor paper and water color pencils
        • Art paper, paint, and brushes
        • School wall or other backdrop, paint, and brushes

        Media Resources

        KET Scale City

        Introductory Activity

        Students should have been introduced to the concepts of ratio and proportion.

        Learning Activities

        Frame, Focus, and Reflection

        Show the video from The World of Mural Painting. Discuss the purpose of the murals shown in the video. They are narrative art, or art that tells a story. What stories do they tell? What ideas do they present? What emotions do they make you feel?

        These murals are also what is known as public art, which means that they are accessible for viewing by the general public. Ask what public art your students have seen.What are some purposes of public art? What does public art contribute to a community?

        Explain that murals, like all works of art, make use of the elements of art and principles of design. Show the PowerPoint, stopping to have students find examples in the classroom of warm, cool, and neutral colors; various textures; and contrasts. Write the terms warm, cool, and neutral colors, value, color scheme, texture, focal point, and contrast on the board. Show the video again, stopping at each mural to discuss one aspect of the mural using these terms. Select one to critique together. Distribute the "Critiquing a Work of Art" handout. Lead students through the process of describing, analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating the mural together. Remind students that people have different responses to art, and it is important to have discussions in a supportive and constructive way.

        Follow-up: Distribute the "Making Murals" handout. Have students read it with a partner and make a list of the different ways that Mike Burrell uses math. Ask them to also make a list of the technologies that he use that would not have been available to muralists during the Depression in the 1930s.

        Short Activity

        Depending on the needs of your class and the time you have, you could use the "Murals Interactive" or any of the activities suggested in the "Murals Lesson Plan."


        Create a class mural. You could use an existing painting or quilt pattern to scale up, or you could use the dragon image included with this lesson.

        Depending on the needs of your class, you could include fractions in the scaling (e.g., increase the image by 2 1⁄2 times rather than just two times.)

        If you use the dragon image, you can engage your class in making collaborative artistic decisions. Define the parameters in terms of your available resources and time. For example: Is there a school wall you could paint or do you need to work on paper? Do you have the time and space for painting or would markers, crayons, and/or colored pencils be a better choice? Consider water soluble oil pastels and watercolor paper for vivid colors and/or watercolor pencils. Could they add glitter, textured paper, yarn, or other media to the mural? Where could you exhibit the finished mural? This will determine the dimensions.

        Discuss and explain the parameters to your students. Then project the image and ask:

        • If we make this into a mural, should we have just the dragon head or add a neck and upper body?
        • Should we add a background?
        • What should be the focal point—the eye, the fang, or the entire head?
        • How could we use lines, highlights, or contrast to draw attention to the focal point?
        • What kind of texture should the dragon have?
        • How will we indicate the texture?
        • What should be the color scheme?
        • Should there be a strong contrast between the dragon and the background?
        • What elements of art should be contrasted (color, value, texture or all three)?

        After discussing these questions, you could allow students to work in teams to come up with a proposed design for the class mural. Run off copies of the dragon image and let them experiment with markers, colored pencils, and/or crayons. Have the class view the proposed designs and come to consensus on how to proceed.

        Once you have a final design, assign each student a grid square to scale up and reproduce.

        Extensions: When they have completed the mural, have students write journal entries or how-to feature articles explaining how they created the mural. (See the "Writing a How-to Article.") Tell them to be sure to use the art terms and math concepts that were included in the lesson.

        If possible, host an unveiling or reception for parents, other classes, the school council, or school and community leaders.

        Formative Assessment

        What are the indicators of student progress toward or achievement of each learning target?

        Math Assessment Problems

        Use the interactive or worksheets from Scale City.

        Arts and Humanities

        Teacher observation and checklist.

        Teacher could prepare a task sheet for each day and record student progress.

        Program Review

        Where does this fit in? How should you document it?

        This activity contributes to your school’s overall efforts in art programming in several areas, depending on whether you implement just the Frame, Focus, and Reflection portion or you implement the entire project.

        Document with lesson plan and samples of student-generated problems and scripts. If possible, record performances or take pictures of performances.

        Curriculum and Instruction: Aligned and Rigorous Curriculum

        a) To what extent does the school ensure that the arts curriculum encompasses creating, performing and responding and is fully aligned with the Kentucky Core Academic Standards?

        b) To what extent does the school ensure that the arts curriculum provides for the development of arts literacy in all four arts discipline and also utilizes the Common Core Standards for English/Language Arts?

        c) To what extent does the school ensure that the school’s curriculum provides opportunities for integration as natural cross-curricular connections are made between the arts and other content areas?

        d) To what extent does the school ensure that the arts curriculum includes the study of representative and exemplary works of dance, music, theater and visual arts from a variety of artists, cultural traditions and historical periods?

        Curriculum and Instruction: Instructional Strategies

        a) To what extent do teachers systematically incorporate all three components of arts study: creating, performing and responding into the arts?

        b) To what extent do teachers provide models of exemplary artistic performances and products to enhance students’ understanding of an arts discipline and to develop their performance/production skills?

        c) To what extent do arts teachers provide for the development of artistic theory, skills, and techniques through the development of student performances or products that are relevant and developmentally appropriate for students?

        Curriculum and Instruction: Student Performance

        a) To what extent are students actively engaged in creating, performing and responding to the arts?

        b) To what extent do students identify a purpose and generate original and varied art works or performances that are highly expressive with teacher guidance?

        c) To what extent do students, with teacher guidance, routinely use creative, evaluative, analytical and problem solving skills in developing and/or reflecting in their artistic performances and products?

        d) To what extent do students use written and verbal communication to objectively reflect on exemplary exhibits and live or technologically provided performances as classroom assignments?

        Formative and Summative Assessment: Expectations for Student Learning

        To what extent do teachers utilize exemplar/models to encourage students to demonstrate characteristics of rigorous work in the appropriate art form in most instructional lessons/units.

        Formative and Summative Assessment: Assessment for Teaching

        To what extent do students regularly reflect on, critique and evaluate the artistic products and performances of others and themselves as is grade level and age appropriate?


        Lesson Creators: Bob Montgomery, Judy Sizemore


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