ALEX Learning Activity


Deconstructing a Perfect Square

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Hannah Bradley
System:Dothan City
School:Carver Magnet School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 1893
Deconstructing a Perfect Square
Digital Tool/Resource:
Perfect Square by Michael Hall-YouTube Video
Web Address – URL:

The teacher will read Perfect Square by Michael Hall or use the digital tool to show the book being read aloud. The students will work with a partner to explore art materials and change a "perfect square" of construction paper into a new work of art. 

This activity was created as a result of the Arts COS Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
Arts Education
ARTS (2017)
Grade: 1
Visual Arts
1) Engage collaboratively in exploration and imaginative play with art materials.

Examples: Work with partner or small group to create an artwork.

Use the book Perfect Square by Michael Hall to help "thinking outside the box" skills.

Unpacked Content
Artistic Process: Creating
Anchor Standards:
Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Process Components: Investigate, Plan, Make
Essential Questions:
EU: Creativity and innovative thinking are essential life skills that can be developed.
EQ: What conditions, attitudes, and behaviors support creativity and innovative thinking? What factors prevent or encourage people to take creative risks? How does collaboration expand the creative process?
Concepts & Vocabulary:
  • Complementary colors
  • Contrast
  • Curator
  • Elements of Art
    • Texture
  • Landscapes
  • Portrait
  • Positive/ negative space and shape
  • Principles of design
    • Repetition
    • Variety
  • Secondary colors
  • Still life
  • Technique
  • Venue
Skill Examples:
  • Work with a partner or small group to create an artwork.
  • Use the book Perfect Square by Michael Hall to help "thinking outside the box" skills.
  • Create two-dimensional artworks using a variety of gadgets for printmaking.
  • Use paint media to create paintings of family portraits or a favorite memory.
  • Create three-dimensional artworks such as clay pinch pots or found-object sculptures.
  • View a step-by-step demonstration of an artistic technique.
  • Properly clean and store art materials.
  • Use Mouse Paint book by Helen Walsh to teach color mixing of primary to achieve secondary colors.
  • Create a painting inspired by Piet Mondrian's Broadway Boogie Woogie.
  • Create a "Pop Art" inspired artwork of positive and negative spaces and shapes by using colored paper cut-outs and gluing to different background squares.
  • Make a color wheel and identify the complimentary colors (red and green, blue and orange, yellow and purple).
  • Draw different forms in the school environment: cones in the gym, cubes in math center, and sphere used for a globe.
  • Create texture rubbings by placing paper over different surfaces and rubbing with a crayon or oil pastel. Use a rough brick wall, a smooth table, bumpy bubble wrap, or soft felt shapes.
  • Use repetition in art by looking at the designs on a shell or the stripes of a zebra for inspiration.
Learning Objectives:

Students will collaborate with a peer to explore art materials and create a work of art.

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

1. Students will listen as the teacher reads the book Perfect Square by Michael Hall or uses the digital tool to show the book being read aloud.

2. Students will recall some of the ways that the square in the book was changed (cut, poked, torn, shredded, shattered, snipped, crumpled, ripped, and wrinkled). 

3. Students will be paired with a partner to change a perfect square of construction paper into a new work of art. Each student will be responsible for creating two ways to change the square of construction paper. 

4. Students will be paired into groups of two and each group will be provided with a square of construction paper, a pair of scissors, a hole punch, and glue. The students should work together to change the construction paper; remind students that each person gets to choose two ways to change the paper using the supplied materials.

Assessment Strategies:

After students complete their work of art, meet with each partner group to ensure that each partner can explain two ways that they changed the square using the art materials.

Advanced Preparation:

The teacher will need a copy of the book Perfect Square by Michael Hall or the ability to play an internet video with sound for the read-aloud video.

The teacher will need to cut out a "perfect square" of construction paper for each pair of students.

The teacher will need to provide each pair of students with scissors, glue, and a hole punch. 

Variation Tips (optional):

The teacher can supply each partner group with additional supplies, such as pom poms, pipe cleaners, etc. This will allow the students to change the square in ways other than those shown in the book.

Notes or Recommendations (optional):
  Keywords and Search Tags  
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