Note: To protect the privacy of our members, e-mail addresses have been removed from the archived messages. As a result, some links may be broken.

Find Lesson Plans on! GettyGames

Re: Understanding By Design


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Feb 15 2005 - 19:15:06 PST

On Feb 15, 2005, at 9:19 PM, wrote:

> Our school is working on curriculum using the Understanding By Design
> model.  I've been looking online for any visual arts applications of
> this method of curriculum design, but have found very little. Does
> anyone have any curriculum examples specific to visual art?  Or
> websites that show what this curriculum would look like in the visual
> arts setting?  I've found examples of math, science, and ELA, but
> would like to find a model that is more specific.
> Thanks for any information you can share,
I suspect you will have to search long and hard for examples given that
the DBAE and Standards models are what drive most art curriculums.

The Understanding by Design model starts with a big question then
works backwards. Every unit should start with a question.
     i.e If you have a unit on still life/ value drawing, your big
question is Why do you have to know value drawing?
  the idea is that the kids have a compelling reason to go through the
process. if your "why?" is not valid then you have to rethink the

Think about the "whys" and your curriculum will follow.

I personally find many questions in what we traditionally teach in art
curriculum. I carefully examine the why? before I put it into
writing to follow. By Design asks us to look at the why? which I
think is very valid in much of what I see in art curriculum. Why?

Judy Decker's IAD site has many links to art curriculums that are
exploring some of these whys.
Writing curriculum is serious stuff. All energy into making it right
should be investigated. You don't have to reinvent the wheel, but easy
answers don't often come.
I think we in the arts have most often forged new ideas that others
follow. Be creative; wow the rest with what you create. Follow your art