5th grade Op Art Circle Patterns

Early finishers – how can they stay engaged and excited about op art?  Op Art Circle Patterns!  I first learned how to do this and teach it from my mentor teacher, Kathleen Zeigler.  It looks hard, but it’s easy to break it down into a few steps.  If you can make a dot, a circle, and a line, you got it.  🙂

Start anywhere in the pre-cut 6×6″ square and make your dot.  Now surround your dot with circles, creating a bulls-eye.  The students need to be taught what to do once the circles start going off the page.

Once you’ve filled up your whole page with circles radiating from the center (like what you see when you toss a pebble into water), you’re ready for the next step.  Go back to the center dot and isolate in your mind a column coming out from the dot.  Take your pencil and lightly put an X in an A,B pattern which rectangles will be dark.  Leave the ones alone that will stay light.


Help each student do a column so they understand, and spot-check the class to make sure they know what to do when they go from one column to another.  Occasionally, they’ll think that they do the same thing on every column.  That make a big bulls-eye with alternating bands of dark and light instead of a woven-looking bulls-eye. Remind them that when 2 columns are next to  each other, they have to be the opposite of each other.

Once completed, then the artists move onto filling in their X’s with dark Sharpies.  They’ll beg to use the colored Sharpies, but promise them that they’ll be using color as soon as they’re finished by doing some “action coloring.”  They’ll be excited!

Once completed, put the parabolic drawing and their op art woven circle UNDER their completed coffee filter art.  Then spray all of it with a spray bottle and the markered-color used on their coffee filter will transfer into a watery wonderland onto both of their op art drawings.  Just make sure you use enough water to get both of them.



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