Pixel People Math Art - Tried it Tuesday

Okay I really, really, really should be working on my math course. Maybe doing the readings or writing reflections or at the very least, finalizing my lesson plan so I can submit it. But am I? No. Instead I am linking up with my friend Holly for Tried it Tuesday.

But this kinda, sorta counts as my course work because what I am about to share with you was the intro for my lesson. I have amazing procrastination and justification skills - both come in super handy at this time of year : )

So as you may have heard (since I complain about it every other post) I am a wee bit behind in my math curriculum (and testing is just a few days away!). So I have been trying to sneak as much math in as I can. Which means math in art (or as one of my sweet students said - Is this going to be more of your math art or just art today? - the answer - Uhm, math art!!).

So here is what I did. First I stole my inspiration from this post from I Want to Be a Super Teacher.

So first I showed my students a few images of the painting La Grand Jatte by Georges Seurat (I have a copy but I used the web and my whiteboard).

Then I showed them the image with certain parts magnified to show the dots - we talked for a minute about pointillism and how this is the most famous example of this style of painting.

Or of course you could show the scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Next we transitioned to how painting with dots was similar to pixels. We watched this video to learn more about pixels. (you might think there is sound - but there is not - you have to read along!)

Then to get us really intrigued I showed a very, very short clip of Minecraft (this is the one we watched to lead into our math) I do not understand this game or obsession - but the crowd went wild and wanted to watch the entire video - but no - just a snip to get us thinking about pixels and as an intro for our next math lesson on area and perimeter.

I also showed them a picture of how a digital image can look pixelated if you increase the size. I just used some digital clipart that I have from Thistlegirl Designs (which I love!).

Finally, the art! Each student made themselves into a pixel person. I cut squares of paper (2 by 2) and off they went. They only instruction - their person must be symmetrical (one of the math concepts we needed to review.

Here are some pictures.

Once their pixel person was complete they needed to complete a math page that reviewed three math concepts: symmetry, fractions and area & perimeter. Click on the pic to pick up a copy of the math review page.


Finally, I used the Minecraft video to lead into our math lesson. The video is building a floating mansion but it needs to start with just one floor - so that is what we did too. They were told to use 36 cubes to make the floor of a building. They had to make the model for the floor, draw a picture, record the info for the array and then find the perimeter. They kept going, making all the different rectangles that they could with 36 cubes). The purpose to determine the relationship between the size of the rectangle and the perimeter.

Then we used the 36 cubes to create a floor with 2 levels - as an intro into volume but we are not quite finished the lesson yet.

Our pixel people art was such a hit I included a similar activity in my Monster Math unit so that students could use the pixel pieces of paper to create a monster. You can check it out here.


  1. Love you new design! And I'm sure anything with Minecraft is a hit (I don't get it either). And I love the term math art ;)

  2. I having a feeling if I said the word "Minecraft" the kids would go WILD! The pixel people are amazing! Your whole lesson is awesome! I'm so glad you procrastinated for all of our benefits! I watched Ferris Bueller in the movie theater when it came out. Does this make me old? XO
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

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  4. My kiddos would eat this activity up! I may just have to squeeze this in before school ends because it wraps up many important concepts. Thanks for sharing it for free! Love the new design by the way.:)

    iTeach 1:1

  5. I love your new design! Such a cool retro vibe!

    The students did a great job with the pixel people. So glad you procrastinated and justified for our sake!

  6. I adore your pixel people! My kids would TOTALLY love to create these! I agree with Alison, if I mentioned Minecraft my class would go bonkers!
    Short and Sassy Teacher

  7. Love this!!! Is there a link for the Minecraft video, or did I miss it (highly likely, lol!)

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Brilliant!! thursdaytook@hotmail.com

  8. This is such a wonderful idea! And such a creative way to cross the digital/physical chasm. Thank you for sharing these brilliant activities.

    I've just added this one to my list of '25 Real Ways Minecraft is Being Used in the Classroom'. Thank you Anne Marie!


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