Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Deep Space Perspective

I don't know what it is about perspective and vanishing point that just "gets" the attention from some students. They absolutely love doing projects where they trick the viewer into thinking their work is actually vanishing right before their eyes.

This project didn't fail them! While the prep to get to the final product was pretty time-consuming and relied on some heavy-duty ruler work (*which I'm finding more and more and more each year is becoming increasingly difficult to teach! Why can't they use a ruler by fifth grade?!) and measuring.
You will need:
12x18 black paper
12x18 white paper
scraps colored paper (for circles)
18" rulers

Start with the white paper to create the long, skinny triangles which will make the vanishing point appear! On one side of the paper, make small "tick marks" on the odd inch marks (mark at 1, 3, 5, 7....17).
Turn the paper upside down and make tick marks at the even inch marks (2, 4, 6, 8...18).
Use the ruler to connect the dots! The lines will go diagonally and will create the triangular shapes you need for the vanishing point!
Cut the long, skinny triangles out. The two end pieces will be trash; they do not have points on them! You will have a stack of triangles.
I allow my students to choose where their vanishing point will be. It can be in the center of the paper, a tad over to the side, near a corner, etc. Do yourself a favor and use glue stick to stick the triangles on the paper!
After all your pieces are glued on, cut the excess white strip off and recycle :) Use scrap papers to make the circles in various sizes. Smaller circles seem to recede into space and larger circles seem to pop forward. This is a great project to show distance and vanishing point! Enjoy!


  1. I love this! I am using this one next week. I agree, teaching how to use ruler should be something kids are working on during math class starting in 2nd grade, I'm always surprised when they can't use one!

  2. This is a great activity. Very effective and visually stunning. Thanks for sharing it.