Props to Mini Matisse for giving me the inspiration and motivation to adapt her idea surrounding ornamental corn. I liked her idea surrounding ornamental corn but had a few adaptations in mind when I began this with my 2nd graders. It’s a great unit that emphasizes some basic math skills, drawing skills and of course, reviews and reinforces warm and cool colors.
So like Mini, I had the students start off by observing corn. Then we acted, yes literally acted, out some vocabulary words that would help us out. We talked about grids and how they use two different lines crossing; we talked about horizontal lines and how they lay flat while vertical lines will reach to the sky. Using these terms, we began our drawing.
We first drew large an oval, flat at the top and with a rounded point on the opposite side. Then using our fingers, we measured out our grids by allowing two fingers to fit between each horizontal line. We drew our horizontal lines down the corn shape (it doesn’t matter that they go outside the shape because we will cut them out eventually, unlike Mini’s project). Then we returned to the top and mapped out our vertical lines using the same two finger rule. This created a nice grid for the students to add the corn kernels.
To add the corn kernels it is important you demonstrate this with students. If you just tell them to draw circles in each square and touching all four sides, they won’t do it. Trust me, I know. So sit them down and show them what it means to draw circles in each grid square touching four sides. Show them what it looks like to touch zero, one, two and three sides and how it doesn’t work. Ask them if the circles touch when we do it correctly; they do so that’s something students should be looking for. It is also important that they move their pencil slowly because if they speed through it, the circles won’t be on the grid anymore.
When a student finishes early, they can easily help a neighbor – and encourage them to re-look at their circles and double check. For instance, the student pictured below ended up going back and fixing their circles before I even pointed it out.
It ends up making a very comparable drawing to that of corn – the kernels are lined up in rows and we start to see our corn a bit better. Next time we will paint our circles in using the warm colors, like ornamental corn and cut them out – to practice cutting along the bumpy line. From there we will incorperate cool colors with oil pastels and our husks using tissue paper. I love 3D so of course I had to add that.