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Hidden images magically appear from within a grid of geometric shapes when students use contrasting colors to define them.
Show students examples of visual illusions created from geometric shapes. Many quilt patterns make especially good examples. Encourage observation and discussion of how color, line, shape, and contrast contribute to the effectiveness of illusions.
Distribute white paper, rulers, and Crayola® Crayons, Markers, and/or Colored Pencils and invite students to create geometrically based illusions of their own.
Suggest the use of a ruler and pencil to lightly grid their papers into squares approximately 1” x 1”. These can then be divided into triangles by drawing diagonal lines across the paper. Emphasize the use of the ruler to keep lines straight and squares perfect.
Once students have completed the grids, ask if they can “see” images formed by the squares and triangles. Invite suggestions and ask a few students to demonstrate what they see. Can someone form a house, a fish, or some other image from a combination of adjacent geometric shapes? Ask each student to select one particular image and color it in on the gridded paper. Then invite them to create a pattern of such images across the entire paper leaving spaces between them.
Discuss what colors might contrast with the color of their images. Those who used a light or bright color for their images might find that a dark background will create the best contrast and vice versa. Contrasting colors will make the images “pop” off the page. The use of complementary colors (purple and yellow, red and green, blue and orange) also enhances illusions.
Some students may wish to add a few details to more clearly define their images, but suggest that they keep these to a minimum.
Invite students to write a paragraph describing the process they used to create their art. How did they discover the images that they chose to color?
Encourage students to work together to create a display of their art and writing.
Explore how Lane Smith’s illustrations contribute to the mood created by the words of Jon Scieszka in their book, The Ma
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