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Kirigami: The Ancient Art of Paper Cutting

Trees Sprout Classroom Lessons Throughout the Year

Return to Trees Sprout Classroom Lessons Throughout the Year

Subjects

  • Arts & Humanities: Art History
  • Arts & Humanities: Visual Arts
  • Science: Life Sciences: Botany
  • Science: Physical Science: Environmental
  • Regions/Cultures

Grades

  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

Practice the ancient art of kirigami to create a stylized tree silhouette.

Objectives

Students will
  • learn about an ancient art.
  • practice some basic paper folding and cutting techniques to create a stylized illustration of a tree.

Keywords

Kirigami, origami, Asian, Japan, paper cutting, scissors, art, silhouette, tree, Arbor Day, spring

Materials Needed

  • paper of contrasting colors
  • scissors
  • wallpaper or gift-wrapping paper samples (optional)

Lesson Plan

You and your students have undoubtedly heard of origami, the art of folding paper. But have you heard of kirigami? Kirigami, like origami, is an ancient Japanese art. The Japanese word kirigami, translates to "cutting paper." Kirigami, therefore, is the art of folding and cutting paper.

Many students already may have practiced a form of kirigami -- if they folded and cut paper to create snowflakes to decorate their classrooms, for example.

You might show students some other kirigami samples.

In this lesson, students complete a paper-cutting activity. They

  • start with an 8-1/2x 11-inch sheet of black construction paper.
  • fold the paper in half -- the long way.
  • cut the folded paper (see Illustration 1) so they have a basic tree shape when the paper is opened up.
  • Cut roots from the tree trunk area. (Note: Students, especially young students, might want to use a pencil or chalk to sketch branches and roots on one side of the unfolded tree outline/silhouette. Older students might be more daring; they might simply cut swipes of "negative image area our of the tree silhouette.)
  • Cut swipes of branches out of the treetop and arrange them to create a unique tree silhouette. (See a completed sample.)
  • Mount the silhouette on a contrasting background color or on a sheet of wallpaper or gift-wrapping paper.

Illustrations

Illustration 1 Completed Sample

Extension Activity

Additional Resources

Assessment

Students display their completed works of art on a bulletin board.

Lesson Plan

Source Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

FINE ARTS: Visual Arts
GRADES K - 4
NA-VA.K-4.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
NA-VA.K-4.4 Understanding the Visual Arts In Relation to History and Cultures
NA-VA.K-4.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
GRADES 5 - 8
NA-VA.5-8.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
NA-VA.5-8.4 Understanding the Visual Arts In Relation to History and Cultures
NA-VA.5-8.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
GRADES 9 - 12
NA-VA.9-12.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
NA-VA.9-12.4 Understanding the Visual Arts In Relation to History and Cultures
NA-VA.9-12.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

SCIENCE
GRADES K - 4
NS.K-4.3 Life Science
NS.K-4.4 Earth and Space Science
GRADES 5 - 8
NS.5-8.3 Life Science
NS.5-8.4 Earth and Space Science
GRADES 9 - 12
NS.9-12.3 Life Science
NS.9-12.4 Earth and Space Science

Find more great springtime lessons on Education World's Spring Lesson Plans page.
Click to return to this week's Lesson Planning article, Trees Sprout Classroom Lessons Throughout the Year.

Originally published 04/18/2003
Last updated 02/22/2010