For this 3rd grade lesson we began by looking at the art of the Navajo Native Americans of the Southwest. Students learned about their amazing weaving skills (textiles, baskets, etc.) and their frequent use of symmetrical geometric motifs. We talked about how having symmetrical designs helped to achieve balance and harmony in their artwork. After viewing several examples, I presented students with our project - radial yarn weaving! :)
Anytime my students get to work with new materials they are super excited.. and yarn is no exception. I think it's the really hands on part that they love and that they are working with materials that not all the other students get to experience.
To begin, each student was given a paper plate on which I had them immediately write their name on the "front" of (the part you would eat off of), because this actually becomes the back of the artwork. Then I passed out my "cheater-plates" to each table and had students take turns tracing the odd numbered and evenly spaced triangular cuts around the plate onto their own (this saved an incredible amount of time and frustration). Once students had traced the triangular cuts from my cheater-plate onto their own, they cut them out. As they were working on that I walked around the classroom and poked a hole with a needle tool into the middle of each student's plate. Once they were finished cutting out their triangular cuts, I had them stick a pencil into the needle hole to make it wider.
Once the decoration of the loom (paper plate) was completed, it was time to add the warp strings!
I knew this would be incredibly difficult to translate into words for you.. so I created a diagram to help me explain it (see below).
|Back of the plate|
|What it should look like! :)|
In total we spent 5 days (about 40 minutes each class) working on this project.
Day 1: Navajo powerpoint and triangular cuts to create the loom
Day 2: Finish cutting and line/color plate
Day 3: Add the warp strings
Day 4: Weave
Day 5: Weave
This is definitely one of those projects that you need to be super hands-on with. Many students do not know how to tie the knots and will need to be shown how. You will definitely have students that need to be constantly reassured that they are "doing it right". And you will also likely have those students who are still having trouble getting the warp string on on day 5.
My third grade classes currently all have about 35 students in them... and I remained constantly busy helping students as soon as the yarn came into the picture. Be prepared! :)
Another way of doing this (inspired by pinterest - these examples created by me)... flowers! Cool idea for spring time!