I have been doing Space Invaders with grade 3 since I student taught 5 years ago. every year, this project is a huge hit. I love the math connection and the amount of problem solving that goes into each student’s design. It is always really interesting to watch them struggle through the beginning of this project and eventually create something that they are proud of and worked really hard on.
The first day, we discuss pixel art, video games, and street art by Invader. This is always a really interesting conversation that involves questions about legality and what actually is art. Unsurprisingly, 3rd graders have very strong opinions about these topics and the debates have gotten quite lively! After finding inspiration looking at artwork, we do s step-by-step of creating a grid made of 1-inch squares. Every year, there is at least one smart-alec who asks “but Ms. Katzin why can’t you just give us a piece of paper that is already a grid?!” To which I reply “measuring is one of those skills that you learn in school that you will actually need when you grow up. You need to know how to measure!” And with that, the challenge of gridding off the paper begins.
After creating a grid, students design their space invader. It is easiest to have them think about what kinds of squares and rectangles they are able to fit into the area they have created. This can be tricky but eventually everyone gets and outline. In the past, I laboriously cut 1-inch squares from construction paper. NOT THIS YEAR. Using the cut paper squares is often difficult for students who may not have created an accurate grid. Often it was messy to glue each square down and incredibly time consuming or wasteful. So this year I decided that we would use markers. I did a quick demo of coloring with markers (make sure you color like your are mowing the lawn, if you mowed the lawn like this your neighbors would be like “what is wrong with you?!” so color in straight lines like a normal neighbor person) This always got a lot of laughs 🙂
This is a great project to start right before testing so students can practice their measuring skills and finding area and perimeter. It was perfect timing for during testing too because coloring after taking a test for hours and hours is very relaxing and meditative.
For more info and resources for this project, visit Art With Mrs. Nguyen’s TpT Store.
❤ Ms. K