How to make a Spirograph and Orbit-Inspired Art
Meets the learning standards for grades 4-5
Media Type: Drawing
Subject: English Language Arts and Reading, Science, Social Studies, Fine Arts
Formal Lesson Plan and TEKS Information

The following project includes one full week of lessons pulling inspiration from objects in space to explore the aesthetics of trajectory, repetition, and pattern.  Use common household materials to construct a Spirograph tool. Click through the buttons at the bottom of each page to move on to the next day of lessons!


Materials Needed: paper, colored pens/pencils/fine-tipped markers, corrugated cardboard, white school glue/hot glue, scissors/cutting tool, ruler or straight edge, various sizes of round objects to trace, pushpin/safety pin/needle, spirograph tool, eraser (optional)

1) Center a piece of drawing paper under your spirograph jig. Position one of the sprockets so that its “teeth” are nested in the teeth of the jig. Poke a fine-tipped marker, pen or colored pencil through one of the holes in the jig. Use the drawing tool to move the sprocket around the interior circle of the jig, leaving a line its wake.

2) Continue to let the sprocket guide your line around and around. Are you surprised by the design that is appearing? You can stop tracing circles whenever you are satisfied.

3) Choose another size sprocket and a different color marking tool and repeat the same process. Are you surprised by the difference? Feel free to experiment and explore.

4) If you want,  use smaller scraps of cardboard to make additional jigs in different sizes. In this photo, the first two colors (purple and green) were created using the largest jig, then a smaller jig was centered in the design, and the orange was added. What new designs can you make?

Click back to revisit Day 3 or click ahead to start your next activity!