Sunday, December 7, 2014

How To Draw Aztec Sun Stones

Math Connections In Art Class

Aztec sun stones are a good way to introduce the ancient history of the Aztec culture of Mexico. (Helpful!) 

But, it's also a good way to bring math into an art lesson. (Awesome!) There are a few math vocabulary words/concepts that are incorporated into making these. 

This lesson is a kind of  a 2 for 1- art history and math! Yea, that's a good thing!

Concentric Circles

We start out drawing 4 concentric circle. They're given  the sizes for the inside and outside (1st & 4th) circles. They have to come up with the measurements for the two inside circles.


After that, they design the sun face inside the center circle. They can add eyelids, eyebrows, eyelashes, cheeks etc. Their choice.

I swear, some of the designs for the faces they come up with are amazing!!!

My only requirement for the sun face  is that the tongue is sticking out. On the original, ancient Aztec sun stones it was actually a knife sticking out of the mouth. (FYI- don't tell them this!) I tone this down a little and require a tongue to be sticking out.

Geometric Shapes

For this project, I require that the kids draw patterns with geometric shapes. So the next thing we  do is talk about the definitions of geometric shapes vs. organic shapes. And we also talk about what a pattern is. 

On the second concentric circle, the kids are asked to draw some kind of  sun ray pattern around the face. Repeated rectangles or triangles  of various sizes, work just fine for this section. But, as long as it's geometric, the sun ray pattern is all their own!

After that, the kids get to start drawing their geometric patterns in pencil on all the other concentric circles.

The kids then outline all of their pencil designs in marker. They get to chose the color  that they outline them in- black, blue, purple or green. (These colors work best in covering up the pencil marks.)
The kids then get to color their sun stones in. They can use either crayons or colored pencils. You can also require that they use certain color families, if you are trying to teach color concepts. For these, they were able use what ever color combinations they wanted.

So, what do you think of these sun stones? Would they work in your art class?
I'd love to hear what you think about them! You can comment below.


  1. I spel gret lik a balr. Don juge me plese.

  2. Thes es muy beautifulio

  3. Thank you, I agree. The students did such a nice job and that's why I wanted to share them. :)

  4. What were the measurements you gave them for the 1st and 4th circle? Did they use a compass? I love this art project, but need some more specific directions. Thank you so much.

  5. Hello, Thanks for the question. We did these on a 12 x 12 paper. I let them use tracers for the largest outside circle and the smallest inside circle. The two remaining middle circles, they used the orange, plastic Saf-T compasses to draw. I think I get them through Blick. They can chose the sizes of the circles they make. (I might recommend a couple of measurements.) Before they draw the circles, I talk about marking a 'pivot point' to try to get them to center their circles as much as possible. I hope this helps. Good luck.


Let me know what you think!