These designs are great for introducing positive/negative space. I have done them with second graders and fifth graders, and by far they were much, much easier for the fifth graders, but the second graders held their own with them, too. The hard part for the younger ones was creating the "mirror image" and to be honest, it was a little hard for some fifth graders as well. Of course, a lot of it depended on how careful the students were being.
All that's needed for this activity is 12x12 white construction paper, 6x6 black construction paper, scissors and glue. I like glue sticks better than white glue for this because some pieces are small, but either will work.
Directions are pretty simple. I explain them while modeling the process, making sure to point out to students the importance of making clean cuts, not trimming anything, staying away from the corners, and lining up the edges of the square.
Place the black square in the center of the white paper and mark the corners with a small pencil dot. Pick up the black square and cut a shape into one side. Lay the black square back onto the white paper, lining up the corners with the pencil dots. Take the cut out shape, lay it into its "hole" and then turn it out, like opening a door. Glue it down to create a mirror image, being careful to line up the straight edges to keep the square contour line straight and true. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.... as many times as possible, until there is no cutting space left. Big important rule: Don't cut off any corners! Finally, glue down the black square (which is not longer square), lining up all the pieces. Done!
The samples here were done by fifth graders, one of whom accidently cut into one of his cut out shapes. He asked what to do and I told him to find a creative solution, and he did. :-)