How can proportions be used to make scale drawings of objects accurate?

IMG_1114I love teaching rates, ratios, and proportions because there are so many hands-on projects and activities that students can do.  Scale drawing is one of the sections in this unit that has many ways to be creative.

In the past, I have had students make a scale drawing of my classroom in floor planner.com.  This program allows students to make 2-D and 3-D representations of my room. However, I wanted students to see how a scale drawing worked with paper and pencil.  So I came up with the Mickey Mouse Scale Drawing Activity.  In this project, students had to draw an enlarged version of Mickey Mouse.

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I found a picture of Mickey Mouse on Google images and copied it onto an 8 1/2″ by 11″ piece of graph paper.  Then, I gave students an 11″ by 13″ piece of paper with larger squares on it.  Students had to copy Mickey Mouse box by box.  I explained that it was not an art class on free drawing.  Rather, it was the ability to figure out where each line started and ended in each box.  I chose a picture that had a lot of curves in it so that they could see that it was about using proportions rather than a ruler.  Also, I deliberately chose not to center Mickey Mouse on the original copy so that students would have to figure this out on their own.

At first, students complained that the picture was too difficult to draw.  However, in the end, most students were very impressed with their ability to make Mickey Mouse look almost as good as the original picture.

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Below is the rubric that I created for this assignment.

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Lately, I have noticed that my 7th graders do not want to take the time to read the instructions on their own.  They would rather come up to me to find if they completed everything properly. So with this project, we read over the rubric together on the first day that the project was assigned.  After that, if a student came up to me to ask if they were finished or if it looked right or if they were doing it right, I would gently remind them to review the rubric.  In the end, most students followed the instructions well and I was less frustrated because they stopped asking the same questions when they realized my answer was the same – read the rubric.  Hopefully, this carries over to the next project!

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