Purpose

This unit uses the context of Picasso's art to explore two and three-dimensional shapes, to recognise their features, and to develop in the students appropriate language to discuss Picasso's and their own artworks.

Specific Learning Outcomes
  • Sort attribute blocks and explain their groupings.
  • Understand and use geometric language to describe the features of two-dimensional (plane) shapes.
  • Create an artwork using plane shapes.
  • Recognise how shape is an important feature of Picasso’s artworks.
  • Understand and describe the features of a cube.
  • Create an artwork, developing a practical understanding of the relationship between 2D and 3D shapes.
  • Identify and articulate key learning about geometric shapes.
Description of Mathematics

In level one, students have been learning to name some common shapes, becoming familiar with their features. As students are given opportunities, they find their own systems for sorting shapes, justifying their categories and developing the important geometric language of attributes.

As they work with three-dimensional shapes, students become aware that these are made up of flat or plane shapes that have two dimensions. It is therefore useful for students to see that two-dimensional shapes are like a print that technically cannot be ‘held’ because it has no thickness or depth. In developing this understanding of the way in which two dimensional plane shapes build three dimensional shapes, students need to have a clear understanding of the meaning and concept of ‘dimensions’ and should be able to explain in their own words what the abbreviations 2D and 3D mean.

The change in language from ‘sides and corners’ for two-dimensional shapes, to ‘faces, edges and vertex/vertices’ is not an insignificant one. The language itself conveys the shape category and should be emphasised and well understood.

As students work with physical shapes they have opportunities to come to understand their defining characteristics. Having them talk about and explain these within a particular learning context, consolidates conceptual understanding. The representation of three-dimensional shapes in the 2 dimensional medium that a painted artwork is, creates its own challenge and interest. It should involve deconstructing 3D shapes, recognising that they are comprised of 2D plane shapes. This is a key understanding to be developed at this level.

In levels 3 and 4 students are challenged to explore and represent objects from different viewpoints and perspectives. The work in this unit of work is a useful precursor to developing these concepts.

Picasso’s art provides a useful context for the exploration of two and three dimensions as well as developing recognition in the students of the importance of shape as fundamental structure of art itself.

Associated Achievement Objectives

Art
Visual Arts

  • Share ideas about how and why their work and others’ works are made, and their purpose, value and context.
  • Investigate and develop visual ideas in response to a variety of motivations, observation or imagination.
  • Share the ideas, feelings, and stories communicated by their own and others’ objects and images.
Required Resource Materials
  • Attribute blocks
  • Pencils
  • Crayons, or pastels
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Art paper
Activity

Learning activities
Whilst this unit is presented as sequence of five sessions, more sessions than this may be required. It is also expected that any session may extend beyond one teaching period.

Session 1

This session is about naming and describing plane shapes, and using these to create a picture. Note: By drawing around the shape the students are creating a two-dimensional shape. Limit the colour selection, as this is relevant to the work in a later lesson.

SLOs:

  • Sort attribute blocks and explain their groupings.
  • Use geometric language to describe plane shapes.
  • Understand the features of a two-dimensional shape.
  • Create an artwork using plane shapes.

Activity 1

Make attribute blocks available to small groups of students.
Begin by having individual students sort a selection of the attribute blocks into groups, and explain to a partner the groupings they have made. Have them repeat the sorting task, this time categorising them differently.
Encourage and affirm appropriate geometric language, including the correct use of shape names and descriptions of their features.

Activity 2

As a class, brainstorm and record on the class chart, all shape and attribute language associated with the task in Activity 1.

Activity 3

Make paper, pencils, and pastels or crayons available, but limit the colour selection.
Challenge the students to make a picture of a person, object or place that is important to them. Explain that they are to make their picture using that shape blocks to help them.
*Demonstrate to the students how to begin the picture by drawing around several shapes and then colouring in the outline. For example:

Explain why your picture is important to you (For example: ‘My Dad used to drive an old blue car a bit like this one.’) and that others may not copy your picture.

Activity 4

Have students make and complete their own pictures. When pictures are complete, have each student name their picture, write a short story about it, using words from the brainstorm list in Activity 3. Their story should explain why the subject of the picture is important to them and how they made their picture.

Activity 5

Refer to the example picture made in Activity 3 above and to the work artworks they have just completed.
Ask: “Are the shapes 2 dimensional shapes or 3 dimensional shapes?” Discuss ideas.
Write the word ‘dimension’ and 2D below the picture.
Ask for students to discuss in pairs the meaning of what has been written.
Through discussion, develop understanding of the meaning of the word ‘dimension’, of two dimensions and of the abbreviation, 2D.
Highlight the shapes that they have drawn are like (foot) prints only. They are wide and long, but not deep. Have students explain that two-dimensional shapes have no depth or thickness.

Activity 6

  1. Have students discuss in pairs and decide whether the attributes blocks themselves are two-dimensional or three-dimensional shapes.
     
  2. Have them physically take up positions in the classroom to indicate their thinking (for example: 2D on one side of the mat, 3D on the other).
    Discuss, conclude and record that the attributes blocks are 3D shapes because they have width, length, and thickness (depth), and we can feel these. Recognise that the attribute block shapes have different thickness or depth.
     
  3. Write face, edge and vertex on the class chart. Have students locate and identify each feature on several of the attributes shapes. Write the plurals of each work beside the singular, highlighting the word vertices. Make the connection between the 2D language of sides and corners, and the 3D terms.

Activity 7

Have students partner share their art works and stories. Conclude by writing on the class chart, ‘We used two dimensional shapes to make our artworks today.’

Session 2

This session is about choosing and responding to a piece of Picasso’s artwork.

SLOs:

  • Recognise how shape is an important feature of Picasso’s artworks.

Activity 1

Have several students share with the class their art stories from Session 1, Activity 3.
Acknowledge students as artists.

Activity 2

Explain that you have a true story to tell about another artist. Read Attachment 1: Picasso. (Omit the quote in the box).
Ask students what they found most interesting in the story.
Record their ideas on the class chart, summarising their learning about Picasso.

Activity 3

Write on the class chart: “Art is a lie that makes us realise the truth.” Explain this is something Picasso said. Have students discuss what he might mean by this.
Elicit ideas: for example, ‘art does not always show us how things really are (“they lie”) but we recognise this by comparing art with how things are (‘the truth’).’

Activity 4

  1. Locate around the classroom, several individual small copies of each Picasso’s pictures from Attachment 2, enough for each student to have a picture of their own choice.
    Explain what you have done.
     
  2. Have students silently complete an ‘art-walk’ once around the ‘gallery of artworks’. Have them make a second rotation, this time choosing and taking an artwork of their choice and returning to their place.
     
  3. Make available paper, pencils and glue sticks.
    Have students glue their chosen picture onto their paper, leaving sufficient space to write about it.
    Remind the students that in Session 1 they wrote about their own artworks.
    Explain that each student is to write about the Picasso picture they have chosen.
    Their writing should:
    • explain their feelings about the picture
    • explain how they think Picasso made the picture
    • include a short story about why the picture might be important to Picasso.
    Clarify the task with the students, list on the class chart any special words that they might need and set a time limit.
     
  4. Extend the task for those who finish quickly, by having them explain how their picture fits with Picasso’s statement in Step 3 above.

Activity 5

  1. When the task is complete, have students who chose the same picture, form a group. Have the students share their responses in their groups, comparing their ideas.
     
  2. Ask, “Who wrote something about “shapes” in their writing?”
    Have several students take turns to talk about the way Picasso uses shapes in his pictures, including identifying the features of those shapes. (for example: In Picture 1, ‘triangles with lots of corners (angles) have been used’).

Activity 6

Conclude the session by having several students share their writing about Picasso’s artwork.

Session 3 and 4

This session is about exploring the features of a three-dimensional shape, recognising that it is comprised of plane shapes, and representing 3D shapes in an artwork.

SLOs:

  • Understand and describe the features of a cube.
  • Create an artwork, developing a practical understanding of the relationship between 2D and 3D shapes.

Activity 1

Begin by having several more students read their Picasso artwork stories.

Activity 2

  1. Make paper and pencils available.
    Have students form pairs with their Picasso artworks. Partners should have different pictures.
    Write on the class chart the headings: Colour      Shape      Other
    Have students write these headings on one shared piece of paper. Set a time limit.
    Have students look at both Picasso pictures and record on the chart under the three headings the things they notice about both art works.
     
  2. Have student partners share their findings with another pair.
    Discuss as a class, highlighting (in most instances) the narrow range of colours, light/dark contrasts, different angles of geometric shapes.

Activity 3

  1. Show the class a wooden cube.
    On the class chart, write cube and list its features, including the number of faces, edges and vertices. Highlight that we can view a cube from different angles.
     
  2. Write cubism on the class chart. Explain that it is a name for an art style that Picasso is famous for. Have students suggest what this might be and record their ideas/definitions on the class chart.
    If required, complement the student’s ideas with these points:
    Cubism:
    • uses simple geometric shapes
    • shows things from different viewpoints in any one artwork
    • sometimes breaks up (or fragments) 3D shapes into parts
    • shows the plane (2D) shapes that make up 3D shapes.
    Talk about each of these, having students find and discuss examples in their artworks in front of them.

Activity 4

  1. Explain that the students will make their own cubist artwork about one thing that is important to themselves. Refer to Picasso’s use of music/musical instruments or parts of these.
    Make available at least one copy of Attachment 3 per student, scissors, glue, A4 paper, pencils, crayons/pastels.
    Explain that their completed artwork should:
    • Include parts of something that are important to them personally
    • Fill the A4 page
    • Use the shapes or parts of shapes from Attachment 3
    • Show the shapes connected or touching in some way
    • Include lines they have drawn
    • Include their own (limited) choice of colour in empty spaces.
  2. Model the beginning of this process.
    Cut out one cube shape from Attachment 3. Discuss this with reference to the wooden cube, highlighting that this is a way of capturing a 3D shape in art.
    Cut the cube (or cuboid) picture into its component parts.
    Recognise and discuss the squares (and rectangles) that result. These are the 2D shapes that make up the 3D shape.
    Look at the parallelogram shapes. Discuss that this is what happens to the square and rectangular faces when they are shown in 2 dimensions.
     
  3. Show the developing process.
    For example: a plant (leaf) may be something important to the artist.

    This can be cut and arranges alongside some shapes to produce the artwork.

     
  4. Refer to the features noted in the headings: colour, shape and other, in Activity 2, Step 1 above. Are these Picasso style features reflected here?
     
  5. Refer to the cubism features list in Activity 3, Step 2 above. Are these features evident here?
     
  6. Identify next steps to complete the artwork. (Fill the page, include more cube shapes of parts of these, fill in any white paper spaces remaining with appropriate colours.)

Activity 5

Have students begin their artworks. Have them stop and review progress throughout, reflecting on their own work and giving feedback to others.

Activity 6

Finish artworks with a title.

Session 5

This session is about reflecting upon and consolidating the key learning about 2D and 3D shapes and about one artist.

SLOs:

  • Identify and articulate key learning about geometric shapes.

Activity 1

Have students display on desks, their cubism art with titles. Explain that the students will undertake a slow and silent art-walk in which they are to notice works they particularly like. They should look closely at these and decide what it is that makes them appealing to them personally.

Activity 2

Have several students share their ideas and feedback on the artwork they have noticed, explaining what they like about it. Have them refer to the artwork criteria.

Activity 3

Make available poster paper large enough to accommodate the student artworks from Session 1 and Session 4, Activity 5.
Have each student place (and glue) both artworks onto the poster paper, leaving sufficient space to attach a reflective comment.

Activity 4

On writing paper, have students:
a. Write which of their own artworks they prefer, writing at least three reasons for their preference.
b. Explain what they have learned about geometric shapes through their exploration of Picasso’s art and of cubism.
c. Attach their reflections to their poster paper beneath their artworks.

Activity 5

  1. Have student share and display their reflections. Discuss.
     
  2. Reflect on Picasso’s statement: “Art is a lie that makes us realise the truth.”
    Recognise that the artworks do not show things as they are, but they helped us to see some things that are true.
    On the class chart list the ‘true’ things (truth) that students have learned about art and about mathematics (geometry).

Activity 6

Conclude the session by sharing some of your own favourite Picasso artworks. Discuss the fact that shape is a feature of much of his work.

Attachments
picasso-1.pdf191.83 KB
picasso-2.pdf372.16 KB
picasso-3.pdf161.52 KB

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