Kapa Designs

Title: Kapa Designs

Grade: 5

Art Discipline: Visual Arts

Time Frame: 60 minutes

Lesson Overview: Students create a kapa pattern that represents percents or ratios.


GLO(s): 3. Complex Thinker, 4. Quality Producer


Arts Benchmark: How the Arts are Organized – FA.5.1.4: Create an original artwork that demonstrates a concept or idea from another discipline.

Rubric based on Arts Benchmark:

Advanced

Proficient

Partially Proficient

Novice

Analyze, using evidence, how an original artwork demonstrates a concept or idea from another discipline.

Explain how an original artwork demonstrates a concept or idea from another discipline.

Name the concept or idea from another discipline the artwork is intended to demonstrate.

Recognize that artwork demonstrates a concept or idea from another discipline.

Key Arts Vocabulary: shape, line, color, value, positive and negative space, pattern, symmetrical and asymmetrical


Content Area Benchmark: Numbers and Operations – MA.5.1.1: Represent percent and ratio using pictures or objects.

Content Area Rubric:

Advanced

Proficient

Partially Proficient

Novice

Represent percent and ratio using pictures or objects, with accuracy.

Represent percent and ratio using pictures or objects, with no significant errors.

Represent percent and ratio using pictures or objects, with few significant errors.

Represent percent and ratio using pictures or objects, with many significant errors.


Classroom Set Up: Regular seating.

Materials & Equipment needed:

10x10 grids, pencils and colored pencils

Photos or examples of Polynesian kapa (tapa) cloth

Prior to this lesson, students need to know percents and ratios and have been introduced to Hawaiian or Polynesian cultural facts.

Teaching Tips: More time may be required to complete the design. This lesson may be done in two sessions.

Create a sample design prior to demonstration.


# Minutes

Procedure

Create

Perform

Respond

10

(Teacher note: Gather students to share information on kapa.)

Today we are going to create a Polynesian kapa design using what we know about art elements and math percentages and ratios. Take a look at this example of kapa cloth. Polynesian tapa, called kapa in Hawai`i, is made from bark stripped from the tree and pounded into cloth. The bark strips are attached together with a natural paste. Dyes made from natural substances, such as clay and plants, are used to color the kapa with beautiful but simple patterns. Kapa was made for use as clothing (skirts, capes, loin cloths, sandals) and for bedclothes. Kapa was washable, warm, flexible and resistant to water.

The Hawaiian bark cloth has unique features if we compare it with other Polynesian tapa. First, the Hawaiians beat the fibers with beaters that had designs carved into them, which would leave a watermark on the cloth. Hawaiian kapa makers used colors not found on other islands of Polynesia: reds, blues, pink, green, and yellow. Most of the other cultures focused on brown and black. The Hawaiians also used very uniform geometric designs with the bamboo printers.

Kapa is made from the bark of the paper mulberry tree, or wauke. This plant thrives well in places along streams, in woods, and in dry taro patches. It is a species of the Hawaiian wet forests. The sap is used medicinally as a laxative. Ashes from burned kapa were used as medicine for `ea (thrush). Strips of coarse kapa were worn around a nursing mother's neck for milk flow.

Look at these examples of kapa cloth. Can you describe the patterns in the design? What do you suppose these designs meant to the kapa artist?

     

Do you see any designs that repeat? Do you see designs that might be repeated but are rotated or flipped?

The makers of kapa had to plan their design so that some of it would be the pattern, and some areas would be the background. They may not have known it, but they were using math to geometrically plan their design, so that there was balance between the background, called negative space, and the designed section, called positive space.  Take a close look at this kapa design. What percentage of the whole design would you say the background or negative space covers? What about the positive space?

   

check mark

10

You will create your own design, using what you know of adding and subtracting percents. You will each receive two 10x10 grids, one is for practice as you work on your kapa design, and the other is for the final kapa design. 

(Teacher note: Demonstrate the process on the board before letting students start their work. Keep designs simple.)

Your rules for creating the kapa design are:

  1. It must have three different simple designs that will be repeated to form a pattern. 
  2. Each of these three designs will cover a certain percentage of the grid. You will decide these percentages.
  3. It must have some negative space that contains no design, although you might want to color in the negative space, as the kapa makers did.

Let me demonstrate. First I will select three simple designs – a leaf, three parallel diagonal lines and an array of dots.

Next, I will come up with three percentages – 32%, 24%, and 20%. (Teacher note: Write this on board.)

My leaf design will be repeated so that it covers 32% of the total 10x10 grid area.

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How many grid sections will this first pattern cover? (32) How did you get your answer?

The second design, with three parallel lines, will be repeated in the same manner to form a pattern that covers 24% of the total area. How many grid sections will that second pattern cover? (24)

The third design with dots covers 20% of the grid area. How many grid sections will the third pattern cover? (20)

How much of the entire grid area is left? (24%) How did you get your answer? This will be the negative space. Now watch as I fill in my designs. I may choose to flip some of my designs to create a different design pattern in the process. Watch what happens when I flip the leaf design. .  . the diagonal line design. I worked my design up on a practice paper before this demonstration because I wanted to make sure it would work. You have practice paper to do this.

 

 

 

 

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30

Now it’s your turn to create your kapa. Create your design on your practice grid first. Create three simple designs that might have been used by ancient Hawaiians (e.g., repeated horizontal or vertical lines, a simple geometric leaf shape, triangles, an array of dots). Include art elements such as line, shape, values of light and dark. Your design might be symmetrical, or it might be asymmetrical.

Decide on the percentage you will assign to each design and the negative space.

You can use the formula I just demonstrated if you wish.

When you are finished with your design, add colors that would represent the look of the ancient Hawaiian kapa cloth. Consider coloring the negative space instead of leaving it white.

Remember to check your math on your practice grid before you begin your final design.

You have 30 minutes to work. (Teacher note: Give students time reminders as they work.)

 

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5

Place your kapa design on your desk.  Let’s take a gallery walk around the room to view each other’s work.

Describe the designs and colors used. What percentage formula was used?

 

check mark

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5

Closing Reflection with students:

Do you think ancient Hawaiian kapa makers used mathematical formulas in designing their pieces? Why or why not?

How do you think kapa reflects the life and culture of the Hawaiian people? What does it tell you about their attitudes and beliefs?

   

 


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Responding (Questions to ask students before, during, or after an activity in the lesson to elicit their thinking about their own work or about work they are studying):

Step 1: Describe

Step 2: Interpret

Step 3: Evaluate

Describe the designs you see in the kapa samples. 

Describe the patterns in your design.

What is your percentage formula?

Do you think ancient Hawaiian kapa makers used mathematical formulas in designing their pieces? Why or why not?

What do you suppose these designs meant to the kapa artist?

If you were to do this again, what could you do differently to improve the design?

How do you think kapa reflects the life and culture of the Hawaiian people? What does it tell you about their attitudes and beliefs?


 

10 x 10 grid

 

Kapa Designs – Samples of Student Work

kapa sample

2 kapa design samples

 

 

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