STEAM Education integrates the arts into STEM by recognizing that the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math have all evolved with individual (and collective) creative expression through a quest for knowledge. STEAM Education compels kids to use interdisciplinary skills to gain knowledge that they can apply to their everyday world. Come explore how integrated learning can be EXCITING and FUN for kids through a STEAM Mondrian Construction and Design Challenge!
Science: Students will explore Mondrian Art through individual (and/or collaborative) use of skills in the scientific method: observing, communicating, comparing, organizing, and relating.
Technology: Kids will use the MS Word program to create Mondrian patterns to document learning.
Engineering: Students will construct hands-on Mondrian-inspired art and explore the expansion of Mondrian influence in constructed textiles.
Arts: Kids will design and construct Mondrian-inspired art that reflects the student’s creative expression.
Math: Students will explore geometric shapes, measurement, lines, primary colors, and patterns in creating Mondrian-inspired art.
Background Information for Parents and Teachers:
Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) was a Dutch painter considered by many to be the founder of abstract art. In Mondrian’s later paintings, he used the term “Neo-Plasticism” to represent his art; he believed “it is the task of art to express a clear vision of reality.” Mondrian used primary colored squares and rectangles with black lines to create art that was harmonious and pure. The artist moved from France to New York during WWII and became very productive near the end of his life. The colorful grid-like patterns in paintings he created while in New York are reflections of the fast pace of the city and the “boogie-woogie” jazz music he adored. For more examples of Mondrian Art, see here.
Introduction to Mondrian Art for Kids – a design and construction challenge.
- Black, Blue, Yellow, and Red Wikki Stix
- One Piet Mondrian pdf file (Download the Piet Mondrian file here)
- White heavy paper (to create the Mondrian art example)
Print the Piet Mondrian PDF file for each student (linked above). Invite the kids to use Wikki Stix to circle their responses to the shape(s) question and to construct the Mondrian art example on the printable. For younger children, the visual will help with transferring skills as the kids create. Open discussion by showing the kids a picture of Piet Mondrian’s Composition C (no.iii) with Red, Yellow and Blue and asking the following questions: Why do you think Piet Mondrian left white spaces in his artwork? Do you like the painting and why? Remind students they do not have to like an artist’s work, but they must always show respect for the artist in their responses.
Mondrian- Inspired Art Construction Challenge for Kids
- Black, Blue, Yellow, and Red Wikki Stix
- White heavy paper
Set out all supplies on a table as an open invitation for the kids to create. It is truly amazing to watch kids use inquiry, explorations, critical thinking, and predictions to formulate creative solutions to open-ended challenges.
Some of the kids chose to create a Mondrian-inspired design directly on the white paper with Wikki Stix (see photo below).
Another small group of kids chose to create a Mondrian-inspired cube (see photo).
To design the cube, the kids made six 3” by 3” square templates from the white paper. Each of the 3 students in the group then created two Mondrian-inspired squares with Wikki Stix. The cube was assembled by lifting the Wikki Stix created squares from the templates. Since Wikki Stix acts as an adhesive, no glue or tape was necessary to assemble the cube.
Using Technology to Document Learning
Show the kids the following digital video by Oren Rubin. The video will introduce kids to the possibilities of creative expression through digital technology.
To help document learning, invite students to use a basic MS Word program to create Mondrian-inspired art. Using shapes within the program, kids can construct the basic design and color the shapes with the 3 primary colors. The kids will create some amazing designs, but they will also gain exposure to digital creation while documenting learning! Be sure to have the kids save and print a copy of their creations for display at home or in the classroom!
Directions for Students:
- Open MS Word
- Click on Insert (right of home tab)
- Click on Shapes (use the square/rectangle shapes only)
- Use the arrow on the corners to resize/reposition the shapes
- Click on Drawing Tools and then Shape Fill to color the shapes as desired
- Save the file and print using the icons on top of the tabs
Mondrian-Inspired Art in the Everyday World
Invite kids to look for color block designs in their everyday world. The Mondrian-inspired dress by Yves Saint Laurent is a great example of personal creative expression that was influenced by knowledge and produced with interdisciplinary skills. As kids learn and grow through STEAM Education, they, too, will garner the skills necessary to apply that knowledge to their everyday world!
For MORE ways to incorporate STEAM Education into the classroom or at home, please visit: