A fellow art teacher in the district showed me this awesome project! I love that it looks really complicated but really isn't. I think many grades could handle this, but I stuck with 5th grade because I felt like they deserved a relaxing project to ease them back into the swing of things after winter break. We discussed a few concepts such as radial symmetry and folding techniques, but more than anything, I just told them that I wanted them to experiment and see what they could come up with.
Below are the steps of the most basic design. I pre-cut hundreds and hundreds of 2" x 2" construction paper squares. They were able to choose their own color scheme, but we all worked on a black 9" x 9" square for the background. First step was the fold the square in half.
Next, you fold the corners in from the "open" edges.
It should look similar to a paper football when it's done.
The other technique involved a cone shape. Some students took on that one, but it required more drying time where you have to squeeze it together in place. We drew an "x" and "t" on the black background paper with a ruler then glued these inside of each other on the lines.
Again, really simple, but it kept them focused on making their squares uniform, keeping the pattern in tact.
Everyone gawked at these in the hall, and the kids seemed really proud of their work. I'm brainstorming ways to make the project more complex, but these took them nearly three weeks as it was, and some were still not able to finish on time. There was an entire movement in art that was founded on "less is more," so why fix something that is already awesome? One thing we could try is making them into a value scale that began with the shades in the middle and "bursted" into tints as they radiated out. That is what I love about art projects- there will always be endless possibilities keeping things new and refreshed every year.