Friday, September 7, 2012

1st Grade Stained Glass Windows

My 1st graders are learning about symmetry. I have some images of beautiful stained glass windows with symmetrical designs to show the students. Last year, my classroom was not equipped with a projector and Promethean board until around January, so some of my images are transparencies that I used with an old overhead projector. My stained glass window pictures are transparencies, so I tried to find similar images online to show on my Promethean board, but I couldn't find any I liked as much.

So, I decided to give the old overhead projector a shot. The kids thought it was the coolest thing! They all gasped and "wow!"ed as I turned it on, and placed the transparency on the glass. They really seemed to think it was about the coolest thing I'd shown them all year!

After the excitement of the dinosaur age technology (why are kids always so much more impressed with old technology then the latest gadgets? I remember when I was in about 5th or 6th grade, I discovered my dad's old typewriter that worked with out electricity! I thought it was the coolest thing he had.), we made our own stained glass windows with black colored paper and colored tissue paper. The students learned that to make symmetrical windows, you fold the paper in half and cut both sides at once!

We added little strings so the students could hang them in a window of their house. Light comes through the tissue paper a little bit, kind of like real stained glass. The windows are the same on both sides, because there are two layers of black paper (it was folded like a greeting card), and the tissue paper is glued in the middle.

Below are a few pictures. I didn't get very many because I try to let the students take them home the same day that they make them.


  1. Nice way to teach symmetry, which can be a pretty difficult concept for them to grasp. :)

    1. Thanks! What I like to do with any extra time at the end (if clean-up time goes quickly) is draw half of a simple symmetrical shape on the board (a heart, star, Christmas tree, spade, diamond, etc.) and have the kids take turns drawing the second half. I draw half of it, and then all the kids who think they can finish it excitedly raise their hands, and I give the piece of chalk to one of them, and we see how they do. If it's really easy, I'll give the chalk to one of my lower students, and if it's pretty complicated, I'll give it to a more advanced student. The kids love it! They ask to play the "draw the other half" game for weeks (sometimes months!) after we learn about symmetry if we have extra time at the end of class.

  2. Stained glass is so beautiful, in the home i used to live in as a child we had a stained glass window in our mother's room. It was gorgeous, this brought so many memories back.

    -Solomon Berkovitch
    Shower Enclosures Brooklyn