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Arts Toolkit: Visual Arts Idea File



Idea File:

Paper and Chinese Art

Chinese art

A student tries out a traditional Chinese craft.

Students explore Chinese culture through paper cutting and kite making. Students create models of kites and paper cuts using symmetry.


For Young Artists: Chinese Art

Teaching Concepts:

  • A Chinese man invented paper around 104 A.D.
  • Paper cutting and kite making are two Chinese art forms using paper.
  • Art is created for use in everyday life (functional purposes).
  • Symmetry is evident in Chinese kites and paper cutting.

Academic Content

  • Visual Arts: elements of art (shape) and principles of design (pattern, balance)
  • Purposes of Art: ceremonial, functional
  • Social Studies: map studies
  • Mathematics: shapes, symmetry

Lesson Idea

Open: Using a folded paper, demonstrate creating symmetrical patterns with paint drops by placing the paint on one side of the paper and then pressing both sides of the paper together. Guide students to do their own. Introduce the concepts of symmetry and balance relative to their work.

Briefly describe the invention of paper. Discuss the many items we use made out of paper.

View: The video segment.

Discuss: Using examples of Chinese paper cutting and kites, look for the line of symmetry or balance.

Expand: Create symmetrical kites and paper cuts. The following web sites are useful for teacher reference:

Author: Mary Henson


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