Monday, October 17, 2011

Exploring Math Concepts Using Collage

Patterns, counting, opposites, plane geometry, not to mention processes, so many math concepts can be explored and expressed using art techniques. Pictured below are 3 and 4-year olds working on collages. We use sponge brushes to apply a glue wash. The background is covered with glue, then the children select color combinations for their patterns and then these are covered again with the glue wash. 

This final layer seals the paper pieces collected and counteracts the shrinking effect of the glue on paper. Here is another way to think about collage which I share with the children -- whatever you put under, you have to put on top to balance it. Sometimes we even have to glue pieces to the back of larger works. Plus, this top layer of glue wash provides a semi-gloss finish to the work.

I do not really think of these projects as art. I think of these as opportunities to practice and experience art techniques while supporting problem-solving and exploration of math concepts. By using painted paper and other beautiful papers, these collages offer rich color and texture and are pleasing to the eye.

A collage exploring opposites. These strips were cut from two separate paintings, one showing a daytime sky and the other, a nighttime sky. The child sprinkled glitter across the collage to show that the stars are always shining.
Sequential shining and one-to-one correspondence. Dogwood blossoms feature 4 petals and at the center of each flower lands a single 
Painted paper opposite collage. The children cut up two paintings, collecting the pieces in small 
bins to apply in layers and layers on a card stock background.
Switching mediums. After the 3 and 4-year olds completed the night and day collages above, the 4 and 5-year olds decided to paint their own opposites. This is called "Happy Sad Rainbow."

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