Monday, August 27, 2018

Symmetrical Balance Art Lesson for Kids

I love balance: balance in my art and balance in my life! I love my diet, my body, and my checkbook to be balanced. My college art department's favorite film was "Koyaanisqatsi" (1982), which is the Hopi word for "life out of balance." Its music and images taught me, as a young woman, that when things get out of balance, tragedy follows, therefore, balance is a worthy goal. Our first art class unit for the school year was one on types of visual balance, starting with symmetry.

For some, I started my balance discussion at a very basic level. We placed items into both sides of a balance scale and arranged matching magnets on either side of a tape line of symmetry on a magnetic board.  "This side has 2 squares and a circle. This side has only 2 squares. That's not fair. How can we make it the same on both sides?" I would ask.

I had non-verbal children point to their ears and their eyes, using two hands, to reinforce the idea that both sides of our body look the same. I walked them through the task of creating visual balance. 
Finally, I put a tape line of symmetry on the table and let students squirt matching shaving cream shapes on either side. Then I smooth out the cream and show them how to use their finger to draw matching marks on either side of the line to create symmetry.

My older students could discuss why a balanced government is important and what a balanced breakfast might look like, but most of them wanted to play with shaving cream too. Their culminating assignment was to replicate the mirror image of half their face to create a symmetrical whole. For those who couldn't see, I used hot glue on the photo image of half their face. They replicated it in Wiki Stix, and I helped them match their skin tones using their choice of crayon, marker, colored pencil, or pastels. It was a useful exercise to reinforce the art principle of balance.

I took the left over half faces to combine, for  funky, albeit disturbing, combo portraits. This was used, not only to get a laugh out of my class, but to illustrate the concept of proximate symmetry. Yes, there is an eyebrow and an eye and an ear on each side of the line of symmetry, but they're not exactly the same.

No comments:

Post a Comment