Our current unit of inquiry in grade 4 is looking at self expression. We are investigating mandalas and their uses and histories from around the world. We are also looking at the principle of radial balance and how this is embodied in mandalas.
To get students engaged with the idea of a mandala and what radial symmetry is, we created Post-it mandalas using post-it notes, markers, an iPad and Keynote. This was a great introduction to the summative project where students will design a larger mandala that represents aspects of themselves and use a similar approach and technology to create it.
Students began by drawing a simple design beginning in the corner of the post it note. Every few minutes, they took a picture with their iPad and pasted, copied, and rotated the design in Keynote to create a Mandala. After each iteration in their design, students assessed how it was developing and made changes to better unify it. There has been some great visual problem solving going on as students deal with parts of their design not lining up as they expected--instead of starting over, they are working to incorporate the "error" into their design.
As students worked through their designs, it was really interesting to see the evolution of the design as they challenged themselves develop their design.