Monday, August 2, 2010

New School Year New Math Decoration

It is a new school year so it is time for a new math art project. Last year, I made a pi out of Styrofoam and small flowers. You can see it here. This year I had one idea about a huge mobile for the center of my room (I have a really high ceiling) but I couldn't decide how to make it.

I finally decided to make a faux stained glass picture. I could incorporate all kinds of polygons and circles into the piece and it would be full of color. I am lucky to have plenty of windows to put the stained glass near. So I started to plan.

A friend had given me a large wooden frame (22.5" x 19") with glass but no backing, which made it perfect for a stained glass project. I had made a small one earlier (8" x 6"). I don't really like it, but I think I will put it in my room anyhow. I like the colors, but you can tell it was a first attempt. I got the pattern from a website called Free Stained Glass Patterns. The pattern was very large so I only used a small portion of it.

Stained glass project

On both pictures I used Glass Gallery products by Plaid. I bought a kit at Hobby Lobby that had about 30 small tubs of different colors and now that I am done, I wish I had just bought the few colors I needed in larger tube form. The tubes with spouts are much easier to use and give better smoother coverage, especially for larger areas.

For the big frame I had a problem. It was much larger than a single piece of paper. I couldn't print out the pattern and put it underneath the glass to trace. I wouldn't cover all the glass. It would have been a huge pain to try to break up the pattern myself to print onto several pieces of paper. So I looked online to see what my options were. I found two options.

Block Posters - This one can be used online without downloading any software. It has its limitations though. I could only print my pattern out in certain sizes and none of them fit my frame that well. It is good if you don't really have a set size you want the final product to be. You do have to trim off the borders on each piece of paper, which are not easily marked, if you want to have a clean look. They had examples of where they left the trim on and it looked good too. I guess it really just depends on what you want and like.

Posteriza - This software had to be downloaded but then could be used offline if needed. It had a few more options for tweaking, which allowed me to get the pattern to the right size. It took four pieces of paper to get the whole design and then I had to use scissors to trim off the borders that were marked before taping it together. It worked great. I am thinking of using it to make a HUGE (5 pieces of paper by 5 pieces of paper, huge) formula chart for my classroom. That would be AWESOME!

The pattern for the large frame was one that I made myself. I did found the boot online and used only the outline, but the rest is my creation. The boot and the D are for my school mascot and name. The school colors are purple and gold so I made sure to incorporate those in as well. It is all said and done and here is the final project. It looks better than the first one, but still I need more practice. I think it will grow on me, though.

Math Stained Glass

And, of course, because he is feeling so much better after his "snack", Pan had to be in one picture in the way.

Pan admiring the picture

In all it would take at least two days for this project since you have to wait for the black leading paint to dry before using the coloring paint. Hopefully, you can get some ideas for your own classroom!

Have fun and feel free to comment!