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Sporty Name Bags

Explore the art of creating positive and negative space with Crayola® Bright Fabric Markers, and draw a colorful name design on a fabric drawstring backpack!

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. The elements of art are used to build an artist’s creation. Form, line, space, shape, value, color, and texture are the elements of art. Not every work of art uses all seven elements, but there are some elements that always appear. Shape is one of those elements!
    2. Ask students what they think space is. How would they define space? In art terms, space is area. It can be 3-D or flat, but it is one element of art that can always be found. There are two types of space, positive and negative. Positive space is the subject of artwork, and negative space is the background or areas around and between the subject.
    3. Provide students with examples of M.C. Escher’s art, such as “The Drowned Cathedral,” “Old Olive Tree,” and/or “Hand with Reflecting Sphere.” Ask students to identify the areas of positive and negative space in Escher's work. Discuss observations as a whole class. Provide time for students to research Escher's life and artistic career. Suggest specific Internet web sites for students to visit to further investigate his artwork.
    4. Challenge students to design their own masterpieces showing positive and negative space! Use names to create interesting designs on sporty drawstring backpacks! Students begin by drawing their names with Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils on a heavy sheet of paper. Be sure to draw thick letters that will be easy to cut out and trace.
    5. Students carefully cut out each letter of the name using Crayola Scissors, and arrange the letters on a flattened drawstring backpack. For best results, use 100% cotton fabric. With Crayola Bright Fabric Markers, trace the outline of each letter onto the backpack. Flip each letter upside down and place directly under the tracing of the name, creating a reflection, and outline the reflection with Bright Fabric Markers. Stain Advisement: Fabric markers are permanent on clothing and contain colorants that may stain household surfaces. Wear a smock to protect clothing and cover your work surface. Recap markers as soon as possible and store in a horizontal position. Do not shake markers.
    6. Remind students to fill in the positive space on the name design above the reflection with bold colors using Bright Fabric Markers! Place a sheet of recycled newspaper or scrap paper inside the drawstring backpack to prevent bleed through. Color designs, making certain the cloth has been saturated. For the name design reflection, fill in the negative space with color.
    7. When finished, students ask an adult to iron their designs. Set iron on cotton setting and iron on the reverse side using a back and forth motion for 4 minutes. Or place garment in the dryer for 30 minutes on the hottest setting. This will fix the color to the fabric.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    MATH: Generate two numerical patterns using two given rules. Identify apparent relationships between corresponding terms. Form ordered pairs consisting of corresponding terms from the two patterns, and graph the ordered pairs on a coordinate plane.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    VA: Select media, techniques, an processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of choices.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resource includes: An Optical Artist: Exploring Patterns and Symmetry (Math for the Real World) by Greg Roza

    Consider coupling this lesson plan with the Sports Writer lesson plan. Students can create the Sporty Name Bag focused on the sports figures they researched and prepared for presentation to classmates. In place of posters, students use Crayola Model Magic to create 3-D symbols for the sports figures. For example, a baseball bat and baseball can be created and placed in the sports bag. The name, or initials, of the sports personalities can be stamped on the sports bag using the positive and negative space technique. Students bring the sport bag to the presentation.

    Students explore positive and negative space in 3-D with a subtractive relief carving. Use Crayola Air-Dry Clay to form a thick slab from which to carve an interesting design. Carefully subtract areas of the slab using modeling tools and carve out the subject of the artwork. The areas of the clay slab that remain untouched are the negative spaces. The carved areas are the positive spaces.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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