Transform-an-object Drawings (Grades 2-4)

Lesson Plan by Amanda E. Gross
National Visual Art Standards: 1, 2, 3, & 5
Cognitive, affective, & psychomotor skills
1 Session

Unit Title: Forms
Unit Goal: Some artists employ design strategies to make forms function in new ways
Lesson Title: Transform-an-object Drawings
Lesson Goals: S ome artists depict the gradual transformation of one thing into another to get interesting shapes in between.

Lesson Objectives:  As a result of instruction, students will be able to:

  1. Draw the transformation of one object into another, in 4 steps.
  2. Choose an object to depict and draw in Box #1.
  3. Depict an image/object/character from her/his imagination, in Box #4.
  4. Work consistently to draw 4 separate images in the allotted time.

Vocabulary Words: Transformation= when one thing changes into something else.

Visual References: 

Left to right: Images by M.C. Escher (first three), Karli Martin, “Patchcone” from, a Nike Air Jordan, and a similar shoe transformed by artist Brian Jungen.

Instructional Support Materials and Supplies: Visual resources (listed above), one 12”x18” white sheet of paper per student,
pencils, erasers, sharpeners, objects for students to choose amongst and draw.

Assessment Strategies: Students drawings and written reflections, observations during work time, and critique.

Evaluation criteria / evidence of success: 

  • Student’s four steps come at an even interval in the object’s transformation, with 2 middle steps showing gradual change. Steps are in order.
  • Student’s image in Box #4 is clearly derived from her/his imagination and is unrelated to the object in Box #1.
  • Student is concerned with her/his own work more than that of peers,’ finishes four drawings within the class period, and switches to the next drawing when the direction is given. If student finishes early, she/he uses the extra time to shade and enhance the detail on the drawings.
  • Student makes insightful comments about her/his own and peers’ work, in critique and written reflection.

Class Progression:
1. Motivation: Introduce lesson and relate it to any past lessons where students had followed visual directions; today we’ll draw our own instructions.  We’re going to choose an object in the room, and show it transform into something else.  Can anyone tell me what transform means?
2. Present visual resources and explain that artists sometimes draw things in transformation. Ask student questions about the visual resources, and relate them to prior knowledge.
3. Explain that reasons behind doing a drawing depicting a transformation may include:

  • To represent steps or sequence
  • Help our drawing skills
  • Arrive at interesting in-between shapes
  • Show the relationship between one object and another.

4. Demonstrate a transformation drawing: Fold your paper into quarters, and ask students to choose an object in the room; do a quick sketch of this in Box #1. Then ask students for something completely imaginary to draw in box #4, and draw it. Then quickly draw the intermediary images, and explain that students will have much more time to work on their own drawings, and will be able to concentrate on proportion and, color, and shading.
5. Explore: After students return to their seats and receive their paper, instruct them to do the following:

  • Fold your paper into quarters.
  • Label the four boxes 1,2,3, and 4.
  • Draw an object (5-10 minute) in Box #1 – STOP (wait for class to finish this)
  • Draw an object/character/etc. from your imagination (5-10 minutes) in Box #4 – STOP
  • In the next 10 or so minutes, draw your 2 middle images in Boxes #2 and #3, to show how you got from one object to the other.

6. Reflect: Students write a reflection stating one thing that they learned, one thing that they liked, and one thing that they found challenging.
7. Class critique: Students tack their drawings to a wall, form a circle around them; and are lead in a discussion about their drawings. Among other things, they consider Which drawings really shows a transformation well?


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