Painting With Math

Painting With Math lesson plan

Counting and grouping become cooperative as children create artwork emphasizing number and quantity for classmates to explore.

  • 1.

    On white paper, ask students to write the digits 1 through 10 with Crayola® Washable Markers. Next to each digit, students list a different favorite object.

  • 2.

    Ask students to cover their work areas with recycled newspaper. On another sheet of white paper, use Crayola Washable Paint to create a scene that shows the listed quantities of your favorite objects (such as 1 teddy bear, 2 cats, and 3 lions). Dry flat.

  • 3.

    Students use markers to add details to their pictures.

  • 4.

    Students exchange drawings with a friend. Write the numerals 1 to 10 again. Find which objects represent each number.

  • 5.

    Partners check classmates' selections.

  • 6.

    Challenge student pairs to create original word problems to accompany their pictures. For example, "3 teddy bears and 5 alligators went on a picnic. How many plates did they need for the picnic?" 3 + 5 = 8 plates.


  • LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • LA: Participate in shared research and writing projects.
  • MATH: Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies.
  • MATH: Determine whether a group of objects (up to 20) has an odd or even number of members, e.g., by pairing objects or counting them by 2s; write an equation to express an even number as a sum of two equal addends.
  • VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.
  • VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.


  • Possible classroom resources include: 123 Chicago: A Cool Counting Book by Puck; One Gorilla: A Counting Book by Anthony Browne; Roar!: A Noisy Counting Book by Pamela Duncan Edwards; Just Enough Carrots by Stuart J. Murphy
  • Ask the school's art teacher to arrange a still life with increasing number of items such as stuffed animals, toy cars, etc. Draw the still life. Glue the sketch onto cardboard and cut into puzzle pieces. Challenge students to re-create the sketch, using their counting skills to re-create the picture.
  • Ask students to create original recipes for favorite foods. When listing the ingredients to make the recipe, students 1 through 5 of each item (such as 5 tomatoes). Students share their recipes with classmates.