User Menu

MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Geometry through Wayne Thiebaud


Goals and Standards: This lesson will help 2nd grade Pennsylvania teachers meet two mathematical state standards. Through the study of these geomterical shapes students will learn about shape structure and how to analyze their characteristics and relationships.  Children will be able to name, describe and draw two dimensional shapes as well as identify and draw lines of symmetry. (2.9.2.A and 2.9.2.B)


Materials: Teachers will need a projector.  Children should be asked to take out a pencil and a paper.

Learning Activities and Instruction: Present this lesson to your students by first introducing the artist Wayne Thiebaud.  Explain that he is a famous painter who often creates works of art depicting common objects. You can keep your students engaged by asking them to identify the common object in each slide. Next, ask children to describe the shapes they see in each of Thiebaud's paintings. Can your students differentiate a circle from a triangle? Ask your students how they can tell that a circle looks different then a square? After identifying the common shapes in the first five slides, introduce the concept of symmetry. Once on the sixth slide, explain to children that a line of symmetry is any line that goes through the center of a shape. Demonstrate this concept by showing the children Thiebaud’s painting on the sixth slide. You may also choose to show your students the "Line of Symmetry" video that is included at the bottom of this page.

Assessment: As a follow up activity or for an informal assessment ask your students to draw their favorite shape and pass their paper to a friend. Once their friend has received their paper ask students to identify the shape their friend drew and to draw a line of symmetry in that shape. 




Created By

Melissa Speck



Grade Level


Related Resources