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Crazy Birds: A Math Integrated Art Lesson for 3rd Grade

By Ashley A. Fournier

Interpret an ‘I Can Statement’ from the Common Core State Standards in an artistic fashion to entice the third graders into creating their very own Kooky/Crazy Bird.

Students will be introduced to a math integrated art lesson that touches on math concepts such as angles, line, and form; and art content such as origami, sculpture, and collage.

Lesson Objectives:

  • Students will be able to create a sculptural three-dimensional form using origami and math theory.
  • Students will utilize third grade math concepts in order to be successful in their art lesson.
  • CCSS (3.G.1) I can place shapes into categories depending upon their attributes. I can recognize and draw quadrilaterals such as rhombuses, rectangles and squares, as well as other examples of quadrilaterals.
  • Students will be able to identify and describe different types of angles.

Materials Required:

  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • 6x9 Inch construction paper
  • 4x4 Inch Origami paper
  • Assorted construction paper
  • Handout (download here)


Cylinder, Form, Two Dimensional, Three Dimensional, Rectangle, Right Angle, Jacob’s Ladder, Origami, Quadrilateral, Polygon, Opposite, Parallel Lines, symmetry,

Lesson Procedure

Day One

1. Students will be introduced to what a sculpture is and how we take two dimensional materials and turn them three dimensional. They will start by taking a rectangle and morphing it into a form by rolling and gluing it into a cylinder.

2. Students will then learn how to create a Jacob’s Ladder fold. Using two long strips of skinny paper students will glue their strips at a right angle. This can be further elaborated on in a math sense by describing the line qualities as segments. Students will fold one strip on top of the other until the ladder is formed. I have found that students have an easier time understanding this if the two strips are different colors. A resource is included with visual examples to help support the teacher instruction.

3. Students can then glue the legs to the cylindrical form and create some interesting feet.

Day 2:

1. Students will be introduced to the more complicated portion of origami, the creation of the beak. Following step by step with the art teacher the students will create a three dimensional form. In the process of creating the beak math can be heavily integrated through the language in describing the folding process. Terms such as right angle, quadrilateral, polygon, opposite sides, and parallel lines can be easily used to describe the steps. The directions for the beak are included at the end of the handout (download here). Omit steps 11 and 12 for a simpler beak, or a Youtube video acts as a great supplemental resource to show students as well.

2. Glue the beak to the cylinder and then encourage students to add extra details to their crazy/kooky birds. Students should include eyes and some additional fun features like some wacky head feathers. Students can explore paper manipulation to create a unique bird. The teacher can lead a short discussion about how to create symmetrical wings to complete the piece.


Students and teachers are able to have the math and art dialogue through the creation process. The ability to link math and art creates deeper understanding for the students by crossing subject areas. Third grade math focuses on geometry vocabulary and the art lesson lends itself well to be used as a tool for additional understanding of the math content.

As an art educator I looked further into the content area expectations of third grade and I found great resources in the Pearson workbooks that went along with the grade level curriculum. Reaching out to classroom educators allowed me to understand the topics students were working on in their classrooms so I could support their efforts in the general education classroom.