I Like It! Discovering Your Personal Style

By Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, October 5, 2006

Grade Level

  • High School


  • Other

Subject Area

  • Arts
  • Language Arts

Lesson Time

One or two fifty-minute class periods


This activity is designed to help students become aware of the wide range of design styles and choices in everyday living. Students will explore their personal preferences as they investigate different interior design styles, including, but not limited to, Arts and Crafts, Asian, Southwestern, Eclectic, English Country, Cottage and Contemporary. They will conduct research and create collaborative classroom presentations.

National Standards

Standard 1. Level IV. Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process 5. Uses strategies to address writing to different audiences (e.g., includes explanations and definitions according to the audience's background, age, or knowledge of the topic, adjusts formality of style, considers interests of potential readers)
Standard 4. Level IV. Gathers and uses information for research purposes 2. Uses a variety of print and electronic sources to gather information for research topics (e.g., news sources such as magazines, radio, television, newspapers; government publications; microfiche; telephone information services; databases; field studies; speeches; technical documents; periodicals; Internet) Standard 7. Level IV. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts 1. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand a variety of informational texts (e.g., textbooks, biographical sketches, letters, diaries, directions, procedures, magazines, essays, primary source historical documents, editorials, news stories, periodicals, catalogs, job-related materials, schedules, speeches, memoranda, public documents, maps)
Listening & Speaking
Standard 8. Level IV. Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes 5. Makes formal presentations to the class (e.g., includes definitions for clarity; supports main ideas using anecdotes, examples, statistics, analogies, and other evidence; uses visual aids or technology, such as transparencies, slides, electronic media; cites information sources) 8. Responds to questions and feedback about own presentations (e.g., clarifies and defends ideas, expands on a topic, uses logical arguments, modifies organization, evaluates effectiveness, sets goals for future presentations)
Visual Arts: Artistic Expression & Communication
Standard 2. Level IV. Knows how to use structures (e.g., sensory qualities, organizational principles, expressive features) and functions of art 1. Understands how the characteristics and structures of art are used to accomplish commercial, personal, communal, or other artistic intentions
Working With Others
Standard 1. Contributes to the overall effort of a group
Thinking & Reasoning
Standard 5. Applies basic trouble-shooting and problem-solving techniques

Common Core Standards

Anchor standards for Speaking and Listening:

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Anchor standards for Language:

Conventions of Standard English:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.


Students will do the following:
  • respond to writing prompts
  • conduct Internet research
  • compare, contrast, and analyze diverse sources of information
  • create a class presentation


  • Interior design Internet websites
  • "Design Styles" handout


  • computer with Internet access
  • drawing or construction paper
  • interior design and style magazines
  • markers, crayons, pencils
  • stapler, scissors, glue


Building Background Personal Preferences

The purpose of this activity is to help students reflect on different aspects of their personal taste and style preferences. 1. Ask your students to respond in writing to the following prompts:
  • What is your favorite color?
  • What is your favorite sound?
  • What is your favorite texture?
  • If you were buying a new couch, what material would it be made from? (leather, chenille, cotton, etc.)
  • Describe your favorite room in your house.
  • What color combinations are your favorites?
  • Describe the most beautiful room that you have ever seen.
  2. Ask your students to choose three of their favorite colors and write down the words that describe the moods and feelings that their color choices evoke. Have the students visit the following website that features a variety of colors: https://www.pantone.com/pages/fcr/?season=spring&year=2015&pid=11, https://photos.hgtv.com/photos, https://paletton.com/#uid=1210u0kllllaFw0g0qFqFg0w0aF. Ask the students to find their three favorite colors, and the words the website uses to describe the colors' emotions and moods. Ask the students to discuss the following question:
  • Do you agree with the words used to describe the colors you chose? If not, how did your description differ from the description you found on this website?
  3. Have the students bring in a picture of a room that they like. It can be any room in a house. Ask students to volunteer to share their pictures, and describe what they like about their selected room.

Steps for Learning Style Explorations

The purpose of this activity is to help students explore a variety of design options and styles. 1. Divide the class into groups of three students. Give each group a copy of the "Design Styles" handout. 2. Create a classroom design exhibit that features students' presentations. Provide time for each group to present its work to the class. 3. Lead a class discussion about the different presentations, and what students liked, found helpful, and learned about the different interior design styles. 4. Ask students to respond to the following writing prompts:
  • What did you learn from this activity?
  • What surprised you the most?
  • What did you learn about your personal style preferences from this activity?


Create a class rubric with your students that will help them assess their presentations. Use the following guidelines to help create the rubric.-Rate how effectively you analyzed the varied information sources you used. Excellent             Good            Adequate            Poor-Rate the overall effectiveness of your presentation in explaining your selected style. Excellent             Good            Adequate            Poor-Rate your creativity. Excellent             Good            Adequate            Poor

Enrichment Extension Activities

Design a Room
Ask your students to design a room that reflects one of the design styles they researched in this activity. Have them create a floor plan and describe the colors, furniture, and accessories they would use in designing this room.

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