Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Starburst Pictures

by Mark Warner
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Ages: 7-11

1) Take a plain piece of paper (any size – but it must be square). Draw two LARGE dots anywhere on the paper.

Starburst Pictures

2) Now, draw ten smaller dots around the paper.

Starburst Pictures

3) Now, choose one of those small dots, and draw straight lines from it to BOTH of the larger dots.

Starburst Pictures

4) Repeat for another of the small dots – join it with straight lines to the two large dots.

Starburst Pictures

5) Repeat for all of the other small dots. Do not join any small dots together, and do not join the two large dots together – just join the small dots to the large dots.

Starburst Pictures

6) Now, you can colour them. You could try to colour it using two colours, so that colours do not touch each other, or using shades of the same colour (with darker shades on the outside, and getting lighter as you go in).

Starburst Pictures

7) When children have mastered this technique, they can experiment:

  • Try having more than two large dots
  • Try having more / less then ten small dots
  • Experiment with the positioning of all of the dots. What does the picture look like when you put both large dots together in a corner?
  • Experiment with colours

8) When your class has made lots of these Starbursts, you can display them all together in a similar way to this:

Starburst Display

9) When I made this display with a class, I gave a Starburst sweet to each child as a reward for helping to make the display!


The following activity was contributed by Sheena Florey:

I have used the Starburst idea at the beginning of each of the last two years with Y3 & Y4. They draw by hand in their sketchbooks – excellent practice with a ruler too! – and colour with a limit of three colours – no ‘same colours touching sides’ also adds an element of decision making & planning

The children then transfer this to an IT application – we used Colour Magic – no special tools are needed for this, though. To complete the picture successfully requires selecting different brush sizes, the line tool, the fill tool, and printing (of course!) – and with the same limits on colours and where they can be placed, the planning element is still there. The skill of click & drag is also there, and if not done accurately, the filling in of colours can result in some interesting and valuable lessons on how to put things right.

I have found that this has developed as a favourite activity for wet play when the children enjoy making really complicated designs and weird & wonderful shapes.

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