Out and About-Creating Design

By Barbara Nikoomanesh, September 6, 2006

Grade Level

  • High School


  • School Design

Subject Area

  • Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Technology

Lesson Time

Five fifty-minute class periods


This lesson will introduce students to the Elements of Art and Principles of Design, through the use of Digital Cameras and Photoshop CS2. Students will explore their school building, using a digital camera to capture images representing the Elements of Art. They will use the computer and Photoshop CS2 program to manipulate images into a strong composition, using the Principles of Design. This will allow students to utilize and master new technology while focusing on design in a hand's on setting.

National Standards

Visual Arts Standard 6. Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines
Geometry Standard. Analyze characteristics and properties of two- and three-dimensional geometric shapes and develop mathematical arguments about geometric relationships. Connections Standard. Recognize and use connections among mathematical ideas. Connections Standard. Recognize and apply mathematics in contexts outside of mathematics.
Standard 1. Knows the characteristics and uses of computer hardware and operating systems Standard 2. Knows the characteristics and uses of computer software programs Standard 3. Understands the relationships among science, technology, society, and the individual

Common Core Standards

Anchor Standards for Writing:

Text Types and Purposes:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

Production and Distribution of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

Anchor standards for Speaking and Listening:

Comprehension and Collaboration:


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.


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.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

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.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.


Students will demonstrate their understanding of:
  • the Elements of Art and the Principles of Design by creating a strong Design composition on the computer using Photoshop CS2
  • the use of a digital camera by capturing images of various Elements of Art, throughout the school building
  • computer use and the Photoshop CS2 program by manipulating images captured with the digital camera, and creating a strong Design composition with the images
  • Geometry by using geometric shapes from the images they captured with the digital camera, and creating a strong Design composition on the computer


  • Macintosh PowerBooks
  • Photoshop CS2 program
  • digital cameras
  • handouts with the Elements of Art and Principles of Design listed
  • color printer


  • printer paper for the final copy of the completed design


Line, Color, Shape, Form, Space, Texture, Balance, Proportion, Rhythm, Emphasis, Unity, Repetition, Variety, Cropping, Zooming, Composition


  • Give each student a vocabulary list with the Elements of Art and the Principles of Design on it.
  • In order to introduce students to their new school building, explain to them, that they are going to take a tour of the building, capturing digital images representing the Elements of Art found in the building. They may take pictures of light fixtures, furniture, architecture, stairways, floors, etc., looking for the various Elements of Art.
  • Make sure students are familiar with the digital camera, understanding how to crop by zooming in.
  • Teach students how to upload photos on to the computers, and save their images.
  • Teach students how to open and use the Photoshop CS2 program to open their images.
  • Teach students to use basic Photoshop tools, such as copy, paste, clone, marquee, filters, paint brush and bucket, etc. to manipulate the images they captured.
  • Encourage recall from Geometry to choose shapes that will be used in their completed designs.
  • On a new file, have the students use the new shapes, line, and textures they captured to create a strong repetitive composition, using the Principles of Design.
  • When students have completed their Design, print the finished product.
  • Students should complete a reflection on the Out and About Design they created. They should discuss how they incorporated the Elements of Art and Principles of Design into their finished product. They should also define the geometric shapes they incorporated.
  • A class critique will be held with the finished designs displayed for feedback.


Create a class rubric and discuss with student whether or not they met the criteria set. The rubric can focus on creativity, use of the Elements of Art, use of the Principles of Design, use of varying geometric shapes, etc.

Enrichment Extension Activities

Use this assignment as a bouncing board for future technology lessons using digital cameras and Photoshop. Also, have students go home and look for the Elements of Art in their own household and in their community. Emphasize that the Elements of Art and Design are all around us.

Teacher Reflection

This lesson can be adjusted according to the students' knowledge of the Elements of Art and Principles of Design, as well as the students' level and prior experience with Photoshop.

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