Spotlight on Oaxaca 2011 Maureen Yoder Ethnobotanical Unit

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Spotlight on Oaxaca 2011

Maureen Yoder

Ethnobotanical Unit:

Lesson Plan for Agave Radial Symmetry
Lesson Title: Agave Radial Symmetry

Grade: 3

Time: 2 one hour periods

Main Objective: Students are introduced to radial symmetry, recognizing that radial symmetry can be found in nature, specifically the agave plant. For their art project they will make a paper sculpture agave plant with writing responses
Students Learn:

To recognize radial symmetry in nature

By folding and cutting students will create a paper sculpture of an Agave plant

That the agave plant provides sweeteners, clothing, shelter, food for the people of Mexico

To understand that Ethnobotanical means plants that provide medicine, food, shelter, and other products for people

Show slides of cactuses and succulents found in the Ethnobotanical Garden in Oaxaca, Mexico. Explain the meaning of ethnobotanical, ask students to name some plants that they use/eat. Show examples of symmetrical plants then show examples of plants that have radial symmetry. Focus on the agave plants for its radial symmetry and ethnobotanical importance: the products it provides to the people of Mexico.


Fold an 8”x 8” square of green construction paper in half. Draw one half of the agave leaf blades so that the line of symmetry is the fold of the paper. Start with one half of a blade at the center fold, and then draw about four more individual whole blades that radiate out from the fold. Cut out with textured scissors (zigzag, wave, etc.). Make sure the paper is still folded in half while cutting. Open the plant flat so that there is a symmetrical shape. Use scraps to add on more blades at the center fold. Bend the flattened bottom edge of the “scrap” blades so that glue may be applied there. Let dry. Fold a 12” x 12” square of black construction paper in half; draw a ¼ arc on the corner to give the top corners a curved contour, cut carefully. Open it up and glue the agave paper sculpture to the black background. Using the reference sheet provides students may write in cursive, print, English or Spanish, different uses for the agave plant, or names and characteristics. When the writing is completed, bend scrap blades out so that they are off the surface for a 3D effect. Make little drops of white glue and dot the plant, sprinkle silver glitter on, shake off extra. If you have a larger size paper, mount the black paper onto it.


8”square green construction paper

12” square black construction paper

Contrasting matt paper (optional )

Glue sticks or white glue

Scissors/ textured edge

Silver glitter


Study worksheet for Agave facts and radial symmetry

Symmetry, radial symmetry, agave, ethnobotanical, texture, shape, sculpture, 3D, leaf blades, agave products

Pennsylvania Standards for the Visual Arts:

9.1A Know and use the elements and principles of art to create art works

9.1H Use art supplies safely

9.2G Relate art to geographical regions

9.3C Classify works of art by forms

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