The artist of the month in our Art Studio is M.C Escher, as 4th graders are learning about and creating their own Op Art. They showed a great interest in this unit, so I decided to extend it beyond the initial activity of creating an optical illusion collage with colored rhombuses.
I set up an ‘Op Art Lab’ in the studio, where students could chose between activities, and rotate between centers at their own pace. Their choices included a Tessellation Station, Impossible Initials (based on the Penrose Triangle and Frustro font by Martzi Hegedűs), and creating a Magical Mobius Strip. Another option was a read, relax and research station, where they could browse our Art library Op Art books, or conduct research on the classroom Apple desktop. Some students had been inspired by optical illusions displayed on the Art Studio walls, and chose to try to replicate those. Towards the end of the sessions devoted to this inquiry, I introduced an iPad with the Amaziograph app, and encouraged students to try an activity in a Scholastic Optical Illusion activity book in the room.
By the end of this inquiry unit, the students had a broad experience of Op Art, as well as a great interest in the subject. They had collaborated to work on the Mobius Strip, had made connections using the Penrose triangle to write their own impossible initials, and had worked with shape, form, color and space to create tessellating patterns. Additionally, they appreciated the freedom to select their own activities, and to take the inquiry into this field in a direction of their choice.