How does your art function?

By Phillip Sada, February 27, 2017

Grade Level

  • Middle School


  • Other

Subject Area

  • Arts

Lesson Time

4 (50 minute) class periods


People create art for many reasons. Most works belong to one of three broad categories: practical, cultural, or personal. Students will develop an understanding of each by identifying art in the world around us. They will then use the design process to create a work of art that serves a specific need to people.

National Standards

Content Standard 1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes Content Standard 2: Using the knowledge of *structures and functions Content Standard 3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas Content Standard 5: Reflecting upon and *assessing the characteristics that give meaning and value to a work of art


Students will be able to: -Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions. -identify three important categories of Art: practical, cultural, and personal. -use the design process to solve a user defined problem. -create a detailed drawing/diagram of an artwork that serves a specific need. -participate in a critique


Great website on the design process: The First Art newspaper on the Net Katter, Eldon, Marilyn G. Stewart: Art and the Human Experience. Cooper Hewitt: What is Design? School library Various print resources: magazines, newspaper, art texts.


-drawing paper -rulers -pencils -PowerPoint presentation -erasers -fine tip brushes -black ink


Day 1: Learning Objectives: Students will identify and discuss three important categories of art. Set up: 1) Class will be placed into groups of 3-4 students each. 2) Power point introduction of practical, cultural, and personal art. 3) Gallery walk-set up multiple ‘stations’ with hands on examples of each category of art. Possible items for gallery walk: 1) decorative tea pots 2) musical instruments 3) carved walking cane 4) religious candles 5) games: Korean board games, Mexican bingo 6) historical artifacts 7) paintings 8) poetry 9) photographs 4) Group/share: groups will be assigned one category and brainstorm a list that will be shared with the rest of class. Day 2: Learning Objectives: Students will explore design based thinking. Set up: 1) Introduce ‘What is Design?’ videos/vocab. 2) Complete Ready, Set, Design activity. Day 3: Learning objective: With design based thinking fresh in their minds, students will focus primarily on the practical functions of art and create a 2D drawing/prototype/diagram of ‘art people use’. Set up: 1) Drawing paper, kneaded erasers, pencils, rulers. 2) Notes, lists from day #1. The class will be presented with a list of design-based scenarios. - Design a school binder that can ‘comfortably’ store a cellphone, earbuds, and various school supplies. - Design a spray bottle that can also scrub stubborn paint marks in the Art room. - Design a lock system for a skateboard that can be used at any public bike rack. In their groups students will create a detailed 2d drawing of functional artwork. The drawing must state a design problem and the solution. Day 4: Learning objective: Presentation/critique. Set up: 1) Each group will present their prototype to the rest of the class with allotted time for questions and feedback.

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