Students at this age are starting to become aware of social structures—from peer groups to global societies. They are interested in the environment, their local community and national roles, and social issues. Their own place in the world is not, however, their only concern. These students are sensitive to personal issues such as bodily functions, grooming, their own perceived inadequacies, and social status. Students will discuss likes, dislikes, and issues, and express their opinions. But they often value standards of beauty or success seen in popular culture.

Students at this age might be both analytical and emotional in their approach to making art. Their motor skills and ability to represent the world will be advanced enough that they will begin to develop their own individual styles. They are able to tackle long-term, multi-step projects, and if given encouragement will expand their artistic horizons with new tools and techniques.

When looking at a work of art, students are able to:

  • identify light sources and discuss depiction of light and shadow.
  • identify positive and negative space.
  • discuss concepts of hue, value, and intensity in color.
  • analyze how an artist achieved a textural effect.
  • recognize genres and media.
  • speak to the impact a work of art has on their emotions.
  • recognize works of artists based on style.

Suggested Lessons

Looking at Portraits: Portraits in Line
Looking at French Decorative Arts: Symbols in Marquetry

Suggestions for Discussion
At this age, students can discuss how the elements and principles of design inform basic composition. Discussions about the elements will solidify this knowledge. Ask students to compare and contrast style, materials, processes, and techniques in artworks. Students will be eager to discuss their opinions and personal responses.

Suggestions for Art Production
After years of short classroom art projects, these students are ready for a more in-depth artistic experience. Research, field trips, and new techniques and materials can be useful components of a multi-step art project. Reinforce appropriate vocabulary so that students can articulate their process.

Two-dimensional production:
Have students practice making lines of all types through drawing exercises such as gesture and contour drawings, and shading techniques such as hatching or cross-hatching. These students will be ready to learn some advanced techniques for creating three-dimensional space including gradations of color, one- and two-point perspective, soft and sharp shadows, changes in scale, overlapping, and experiments with various light sources. Encourage them to be creative in finding new applications for media and tools.

Three-dimensional production:
Working with three-dimensional materials offers students opportunities for visual and tactile thinking. Incorporate design planning into the process by having students make sketches, preparatory drawings, blueprints, and three-dimensional models before completing the final work of art.