Protractor Art

Did you know?
Frank Stella is an American artist best known for his use of geometric patterns and shapes in creating both paintings and sculptures. During the 1960s, he experimented with unusually shaped canvases, a broad color palette, and complex geometric patterns in such series as Concentric Squares, Protractors, and Irregular Polygons.

Protractors are important in mathematics because they help to classify angles as acute, right, or obtuse. Engineers use protractors to design streets and buildings. Then next time you are in a building or on a street corner, try to figure out if the measure of a corner is an acute, right, or obtuse angle..


Let’s explore math art in the style of Mr. Stella’s Protractor series


  • Paper
  • Protractor, the half circle kind
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Coloring materials

Directions Trace around the protractor. Flip it, turn it 90 degrees, slide it left or right, however you choose to make your pattern.

Trace the protractor again. Continue moving and tracing your protractor until your pattern is done. You can also use your ruler to draw evenly spaced lines inside and outside the original tracings. Color the resulting stripes.


Try this with other shapes, filling them in with concentric lines and coloring the stripes.

Based on project found in Karyn Tripp’s Math Art and Drawing Games for Kids


This program has been designed for you to share with your child. Read the material together, ask questions and encourage your child to ask questions. Then nurture their curious mind by doing the activities with them. Books included are available via CPL’s digital library (with a library card).