Leaves, Diamonds, Birds & Roses: Design Patterns in Everyday Life
By Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, July 8, 2008
- Middle School
- Graphic Design
- Language Arts
Two or three fifty-minute lesson plans
An important part of design is learning to look closely at the objects that surround us. In this activity, students will have opportunities to observe patterns and symbols across disciplines. They will brainstorm ideas, collect and analyze data, and construct graphs and graphic organizers.
Common Core Literacy for Other Subjects
WHST.6-8.2. Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.
WHST.6-8.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Common Core English Language Arts
Strand Speaking and Listening
SL.6.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacherled) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
SL.6.4. Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
SL.6.5. Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.
Common Core Mathematics 6-8
Cluster Analyze proportional relationships and use them to solve real-world and mathematical problems.
Language Arts - Writing
Standard 1. Level III. Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process Benchmark 1. Prewriting: Uses a variety of prewriting strategies (e.g., makes outlines, uses published pieces as writing models, constructs critical standards, brainstorms, builds background knowledge)
Benchmark 5. Uses content, style, and structure (e.g., formal or informal language, genre, organization) appropriate for specific audiences (e.g., public, private) and purposes (e.g., to entertain, to influence, to inform)
Language Arts - Reading
Standard 7. Level III. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts Benchmark 1. Reads a variety of informational texts (e.g., electronic texts; textbooks; biographical sketches; directions; essays; primary source historical documents, including letters and diaries; print media, including editorials, news stories, periodicals, and magazines; consumer, workplace, and public documents, including catalogs, technical directions, procedures, and bus routes)
Language Arts - Listening & Speaking
Standard 8. Level III. Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes Benchmark 6. Makes oral presentations to the class (e.g., uses notes and outlines; uses organizational pattern that includes preview, introduction, body, transitions, conclusion; uses a clear point of view; uses evidence and arguments to support opinions; uses visual media)
Standard 6. Level III. Understands and applies basic and advanced concepts of statistics and data analysis Benchmark 4. Reads and interprets data in charts, tables, and plots (e.g., stem-and-leaf, box-and-whiskers, scatter) Benchmark 6. Organizes and displays data using tables, graphs (e.g., line, circle, bar), frequency distributions, and plots (e.g., stem-and-leaf, box-and-whiskers, scatter)
Standard 3. Level III. Knows a range of subject matter, symbols, and potential ideas in the visual arts Benchmark 2. Knows different subjects, themes, and symbols (through context, value, and aesthetics) which convey intended meaning in artworks
Working With Others
Standard 1. Contributes to the overall effort of a group
• conduct Internet research • collect data • analyze data • create a graphic organizer • create graphs to organize and display data • create a class presentation • respond to writing prompts
“Design Pattern Graphic Organizer” handout (attached)
• computer with Internet access • drawing or construction paper • markers, crayons, pencils
Building Background Review
The purpose of this activity is to help students identify patterns and symbols that are part of their everyday lives.1. Ask your students to brainstorm examples of where a person might see a representation of an apple in his or her everyday life experiences and observations. Record students’ ideas. 2. Visit the following Web sites to show students additional examples of where apples might appear in varied product designs:
Exploring Design Motif Patterns Across Cultures
As a class, explore different design motifs by browsing the following websites:
• Design Motifs in Mayan Art http://nmai.si.edu/exhibitions/infinityofnations/mesoamerica-caribbean.html#notes
• Design Motifs in Kongo Baskets http://www.mi.sanu.ac.rs/vismath/gerdbook/gerdkongo/
Steps for Learning Organizing Design Pattern Observations
The purpose of this activity is to help students collect and organize data based on observations of patterns in their everyday experiences.
1. Tell the students that they are going to conduct research to find examples of patterns and symbols in their everyday observations.Teacher Note: You may wish to assign this as a weekend homework task to provide students with the opportunity to collect data.
2. Divide the class into groups and assign each group one item to look for in everyday life activities:• Group One: Roses • Group Two: Leaves • Group Three: Grapes • Group Four: Birds • Group Five: Stars • Group Six: DiamondsAsk the students to record all examples that they observe in their assigned categories. Did any of their findings surprise them? (Frame/Reframe)3. After the students have collected their data, tell them that they are going to create a graphic organizer. A graphic organizer helps one to visually and spatially represent ideas. There are many examples of graphic organizers. Each group should choose the type that fits their project best. (Generate Solutions)As a class, create a graphic organizer using the information from the Building Background activity in which students brainstormed ideas on apples. Model the steps you use as you create the organizer for your students. You can use the information on the following websites to learn how to create your class graphic organizer:
• What did you learn from your research? • What did you learn from your graphs? • What surprised you the most in this activity? • Did this activity help you observe design patterns in your everyday life?
Create a class rubric with your students that will help them assess how well they collected, organized and displayed data. You may wish to complete this assessment with your students. Use the following guidelines to help create the rubric.
-How effective was your data collection process? -Rate how effectively you analyzed your data. -Rate the effectiveness of your graphic organizer in showing different design patterns. -Rate the effectiveness of your graphs in showing different design patterns.
Enrichment Extension Activities
Differentiation for Elementary School:
- Younger students will enjoy looking for patterns and symbols in their everyday lives. Create a table for students to use as they collect their data at home and around their community.
- You might hand out blank, preprinted graphic organizers to each of the groups to facilitate the design process. Groups can choose the one most appropriate to the task and write their data in the appropriate spaces.
- Older students may design an artwork using their findings, to make connections across disciplines. An example might be a photo or video collage of the data they find.
- You might also assign the task of finding writing (literature, songs, newspaper articles, etc.) in connection with their chosen item. These can also be incorporated into their artwork.