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Islamic Pattern Prints

At our yearly foreign film festival my 6th graders watched the movie Children of Heaven (Iran) 1997.

In the movie Ali takes his little sister Zahra's shoes to the shoemaker to be repaired, but loses them on the way home.  The siblings decide to keep the predicament a secret from their parents, knowing there is no money to buy a replacement pair and fearing that they will be punished.  They devise a scheme to share Ali's sneakers:  Zahra will wear them to school in the morning and hand them off to Ali at midday so that he can attend afternoon classes.  All sorts of adventures arise as they try to hide their secret from their parents and teachers.  Zahra even spots her shoes on a schoolmate's feet, but the two become friends.  Ali enters a well-known running race in the hopes that he will win third prize:  a new pair of sneakers.  Will he win?

After viewing the film I have my students research Islamic art patterns.  Then they design their own geometric patterns on graph paper using at least two shapes which intersect or overlap.  (see examples: Download Islamic patterns).

Then my students transfer their patterns onto scratch foam and print a variety of one color prints.  Then they cut out the shapes, fill them with pattern and print them over their coordinating spaces on the printed patterns in different colors.  They end up with beautiful multi-colored prints which are filled with pattern and texture.

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