We started out looking at artwork by the artist Space Invader, and talking about how he creates his images by putting squares together. I felt inspired to share this artist with my students after reading about him on another art teacher's blog. The third graders immediately related to the artwork, drawing connections of course to video games. Their favorite being Minecraft, which we will do something with later this year.
I decided not to run away from this, but let them finish no matter how they turned out. Somewhere along the way things turned around and the students started getting it.
Having decided to stick it out, our next step was to fill the negative space with any kind of pattern they chose. One student decided he would make a pattern of space aliens. This idea spread like wild fire, and students all over the class were creating their own alien patterns. A similar thing happened with the girls in the classes and flowers. I really tried to get involved as little as possible, letting them teach each other. It was great to see a project that previously had them frustrated and wanting to give up, now being driven by self motivation.
This lesson was done to prepare them for our next assignment which will deal with mosaic. The goal is that they will be able to create organic shapes using smaller geometric shapes. This turned out to be a great lesson on craftsmanship as well.