CANADIAN ANIMALS ALPHABET – Space, Contrast, Symmetry

Students work together to create a Canadian animals alphabet using construction paper and cut out letters.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 4 to Grade 6

Subject

Language Arts
Mathematics
Visual Arts

Vocabulary

contrast line of symmetry negative space shape symmetrical shape

Materials

Construction Paper Glue Sticks Scissors Sketchbook

Steps

CANADIAN ANIMALS ALPHABET – Space, Contrast, Symmetry - Step One

Step One

  1. Make a plan drawing in your sketchbook.
  2. Block out spaces for all the letters. 
  3. Make sure the first letter of the animal's name is large.
CANADIAN ANIMALS ALPHABET – Space, Contrast, Symmetry - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Choose the colours you want to work with.
  2. Cut out rectangles of paper for each of the main shapes.
  3. Arrange the rectangles on the background paper to make sure they all fit.
CANADIAN ANIMALS ALPHABET – Space, Contrast, Symmetry - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Follow the instructions to cut out all the letters. (Downloads - CuttingOutLetters.pdf)
CANADIAN ANIMALS ALPHABET – Space, Contrast, Symmetry - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Use symmetrical shapes to cut out the animal and details.
  2. Arrange the shapes to be sure they all fit.
  3. Choose contrasting colours for the details.
  4. Glue the pieces in place.
CANADIAN ANIMALS ALPHABET – Space, Contrast, Symmetry - Step Five

Step Five

  1. View the picture with fresh eyes.
    - Is the main letter large and dominant?
    - Are the smaller letters easy to read?
    - Do contrasting colours add emphasis to parts of the composition?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • follow instructions to cut out letters;
  • identify lines of symmetry in letters of the alphabet;
  • create a collage of a Canadian animal that includes its name;
  • use contrasting colours to create areas of emphasis;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

Extensions

Have students:

  • scan and save their images;
  • write a haiku to accompany their image;
  • combine all the images into a digital alphabet book of Canadian animal haiku poetry;
  • share the finished book with another class.

Prepare

  1. Download and display the Space and Contrast posters available on this website.
  2. Gather and make available Canadian animal books, for example, Moose, Goose, Animals on the Loose!: A Canadian Wildlife ABC, by Geraldo Valério; Canadian Animal Alphabet Book, by Nicky Bird, and Peter Duncan; Let's Look & See: Canadian Animals Board book, by Anness Publishing Ltd; Weird Facts About Canadian Animals, by Wendy Einstein; Wild Animals of the Canadian Rockies, by Kevin Van Tighem; and Animals Illustrated: Caribou (English), by Dorothy Aglukark, David Aglukark, and Amanda Sandland.
  3. Download and copy the Cutting Out Letters worksheet, enough for groups of students to share. (Downloads - CutOutAlphabet.pdf)
  4. Review symmetry and lines of symmetry.
  5. Provide time for students to research information about a Canadian animal. (Provide each student with one letter of the alphabet and ask them to choose a Canadian animal that starts with that letter as their research topic.) 

Introduction

  1. Conduct a read aloud using the book Moose, Goose, Animals on the Loose!: A Canadian Wildlife ABC, by Geraldo Valério.
  2. Discuss the pictures and Valério's collage technique.
    - simple shapes
    - contrasting colours
    - use of space
    - repetition of shapes
    - cut out letters
  3. Introduce the challenge.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Follow instructions to cut out letters.
  2. Identify lines of symmetry in letters of the alphabet.
  3. Create a collage of a Canadian animal that includes its name.
  4. Use contrasting colours to create areas of emphasis.
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - followed instructions to accurately cut out letters
    used contrast to create areas of emphasis
    - made the main letter large so it stands out
    - created contrast among the elements
    - created a composition that moves the eye through the picture plane
    - kept the paper in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work.
  5. Encourage them to share and expand on each other's ideas as they explore the materials.  
  6. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.

Sharing

  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to: 
    - compare their work and describe how they are similar, and how they are different;
    - talk about the interesting things they learned about their animals;
    - talk about what was difficult and what was easy for them to do.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask them to tell how they felt about doing this project.
  5. Display the collages in alphabetical order along with student researched information about each animal.

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss the collages – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Alphabet_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - Alphabet_self-assessment.pdf)