SHAPE UP – Shape, Space, Colour

Students use tempera paint to create an abstract painting and apply mathematical thinking as they cut it up and reassemble it to construct a painting collage.

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SHAPE UP – Shape, Space, Colour


  • Crayola Paint Brushes
  • Crayola Washable No-Run School Glue
  • Crayola Scissors
  • Crayola Broad Line Markers
  • Crayola Tempera Paint
  • Cereal Boxes
  • Scrap Corrugated Cardboard
  • Water Containers
  • Paper Towels
  • Rulers


Step 1
  1. Open a cereal box and flatten it.
  2. Place it face down on the desk.
  3. Use different lines and shapes to break up the space.
Step 2
  1. Let your imagination flow.
  2. Fill the spaces with lots of different colours.
  3. Balance light and dark values.
  4. Paint different textures.
  5. Scratch into the wet paint with the end of a paintbrush to create textures.
  6. Use marker to draw lines and patterns in some of the spaces.
Step 3
  1. Place the painting face down on the desk.
  2. Divide the back of the painting into 7.5 cm (3") squares.
  3. Draw the lines with a marker.
Step 4
  1. Cut out all the squares.
  2. Spread them out on the desk paint side up.
Step 5
  1. Place different combinations of squares together in groups of 9.
  2. Look for how the colours, lines and shapes lead your eye through the composition.
  3. Choose the 9 squares you like best.
  4. Glue them onto a piece of Bristol board 30.5 cm x 30.5 cm (12" x 12").
Step 6
  1. Cut small shapes out of the leftover painted squares and scraps.
  2. Glue small pieces of cardboard to the back of the shapes.
  3. Stack several shapes together.
Step 7
  1. Use white glue to attach the raised shapes to the squares.
  2. Place them so the colours contrast with the shapes below.
  3. Make sure the lines, colours and shapes lead your eye through the composition.
Step 8
  1. View your finished painting collage with fresh eyes.
    - What do you like best about the work?
    - How is it different than the original painting?
    - What effect do the raised shapes have on the composition?
  • Subjects:

    • Language Arts,

    • Mathematics,

    • Visual Arts

  • Grades:

    • Grade 4,

    • Grade 5,

    • Grade 6,

    • Grade 7,

    • Grade 8,

    • Grade 9

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