I framed the assignment with a mild PBL twist of needing to decorate the halls with some evidence of student learning. In a very conceded tone, I claimed that I thought portraits of me would make exceptional decorations. Could my students help me? How would they draw me? Should it be accurate? What are the connections between accuracy and scale? What happens if we play around with scale and purposefully change proportions? We explored these questions and brainstormed what we would need to learn in order to fulfill the higher purpose of filling the corridors with my image.
Soon we were off to work with mini-lessons, drafts, and sharing of discoveries. Much of the art was done as homework so that class time could be dedicated toward math practice. As often happens, students started inspiring each other when they saw the work coming in. Soon students were not only creating multiple scale outfits for me, but also engineering the displays to allow for quick superhero like changes of costumes.
In reflection, the project could likely be expanded, with similar results, to allow for scale drawings of subject matter other than myself. The key motivators came from pushing students to think out of the box, providing extension opportunities, and showcasing their efforts. Here are the instructions we used (the easier version just used one scale factor). I even had one student take the extension of creating a scale model of the classroom. The model can be seen in the photo samples below.