Monday, November 28, 2011

Complementary Zebras

"Why - I just love your stripes!"

The idea for this project popped into my head one evening when I was looking at some photos I took at at  the St. Louis Zoo this summer. I love zebras and giraffes and wanted to do some projects with them as the subjects. I wanted to make the zebras colorful and first thought of doing a color wheel zebra. But then I saw those great complementary color t-shirts with the colors giving each other compliments. The two ideas meshed and I decided to do complementary zebras who would compliment each other!

5th Graders were my target group for this project.
You can find a PowerPoint that I created for this lesson on my website -> PowerPoints

This project took 3-4 (45min) class periods.  The first class period was spent introducing the project, complementary colors, and drawing zebras. I really wanted the students to draw from observation - paying attention to what basic shapes were the foundation of the zebra. I had several reference pictures for them to look at in different poses. From the basic shapes, we (my wonderful student teacher and I) had them pay attention to the inside and outside contour lines of the zebra.

The next classes were spent painting zebras and outlining with a black sharpie. I wanted to have a variety of zebras so instead of having students chose their complementary color pair, I had slips of paper with the pairs typed out on. Before students painted they pulled a slip from a basket and that would be the color pair they would be working with. I really didn't care if they traded slips with each other before the started - I just wanted to have each pair represented equally.

The last class day of the project - the "wrap-up" day - was started by discussing the homophones: complement and compliment. I had students write a compliment that the zebras could be giving to another zebra.

I posted many of these compliments with the zebras when I displayed them in the hallway. What Fun!

Now...I'm considering what to do with giraffes! 


  1. your powerpoint link doesn't work :( I would love to use it!

  2. LOVE THIS! Thank you so much!