Viewing device: New Perspective

By Carlos Noguera, November 14, 2010

Grade Level

  • High School


  • Product Design

Subject Area

  • Arts

Lesson Time

360 minutes for classroom activies and 30 to 60 minutes for homework.


This project was inspired by ’s viewing device for perspective.

This lesson consists of a design challenge that will exercise the students' problem-solving abilities and creativity; the challenge is to create a simple device that will allow the user to see a different perspective of the space around them without moving.  Students will have to use the design process to come up with a solution for the challenge.


National Standards

Common Core Standards

Anchors for Reading:

Key Ideas and Details:

Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.


Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Craft and Structure:


Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:


Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.1


Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:


Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:


Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.


Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.


Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

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.


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:


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.


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


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:


Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Knowledge of Language:


Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:


Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.


Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.


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.

National Visual Arts Standards 

Anchor Standard #1. Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work. Anchor Standard #2. Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. Anchor Standard #3. Refine and complete artistic work.


Understanding and evaluating how the arts convey meaning. Anchor Standard #7. Perceive and analyze artistic work. Anchor Standard #8. Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work. Anchor Standard #9. Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work.

Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context. Anchor Standard #10. Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art. Anchor Standard #11. Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural and historical context to deepen understanding.


The purpose of this lesson is to expose students to the design process in order to solve problems or challenges.


For this project students can use anything they think is suitable to create their model. If possible, the teacher should provide found materials such as:
  • cardboard tubes (from toilet paper or paper towel rolls)
  • cardboard
  • construction paper
  • discarded eye glasses
  • plastic bottles
  • magnifying glasses
  • small mirrors


  • device: a piece of equipment or a mechanism designed to serve a special purpose or perform a special function; an electronic device
  • perspective: the technique or process of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eye; specifically representation in a drawing or painting of parallel lines as converging in order to give the illusion of depth and distance; the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed
  • point of view: the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance; a visible scene, especially one giving a distinctive impression of distance; vista; a mental view or prospect; gain a broader perspective on the situation; the appearance to the eye of objects in respect to their relative distance and positions


Lesson Outline:

a) Define the Problem: Create a device that will allow you to see a different perspective of the space around you.

b) Research the Problem: Examine the subject, break it down, classify it.  (Note: In this case: How can you see something differently than how you usually do? What if you could see what’s behind/above or next to you without moving your head?)

c) Brainstorm – Develop Possible Solutions: Think, fantasize, produce ideas.  Generate options towards a creative solution. Relate, rearrange, reconstruct.

d) Choose the Best Solution: Choose your best option.

e) Implement: Put your ideas into action.  Realize the idea.  Transform imagination and fantasy into tangible forms.

f) Test and Evaluate: Judge the result.  Think about new options and possibilities that have emerged.  Revisit your process.

e) Communicate: Share your ideas with others.

g) Redesign: Based on received feedback, reconfigure your solution.

Day 1: Set the Challenge

1. Start out with a brief discussion about perspective; compare how students define perspective versus the dictionary definition.

2. Present the challenge: “Come up with a device that will allow you to see the space around you from a different perspective. (For example, a device that will allow you to see what’s behind you without moving your head.)”

3. Divide students into groups of three or four.

4.  Have students research the problem.  Students should look at Albrecht Dürer’s viewing device.  Have them find out how it works and its purpose.

5. Homework: Develop Possible Solutions – Have students brainstorm individually about possible solutions to the design challenge.  Students are to share/compare/contrast ideas as soon as they return to their groups in day two.

Day 2: Critique

1. Students will review compare/contrast their possible solutions. Ask each group to vote on the two most interesting possible solutions. Students must explain why they chose those particular designs over the others.  Each group will present their two best possible solutions to the rest of the class, and explain why they chose those designs.

2. Ask the students how this device would work and how it could be constructed.

3. Fast model: Students will spend the rest of the class on their mock-up model.  This will allow them to see how the design may be realized. The purpose of the “fast model” is to show how the design works.  This model does not need to work, but rather show how it would work.  This will allow students to see any problems that may arise when working on the final model.  For the mock-up design, students can use paper and cardboard (tape, glue, clips, etc.) to represent the actual parts that will make the final model.  For example, if the design were to use a mirror, students could use paper foil to show where it would go and what it would do.

4. Homework: Students should collect/gather materials that will be needed for the final model.  Students will start working on the final model on the second half of Day 3.

Day 3:

1. Each group will share their “fast model” with the class and demonstrate how it works.  Students will provide feedback and/or suggestions as to anything that could be improved, or other things that should be considered.

2. After reviewing each model, and making any revisions, the groups can start working on their final models.

Day 4:

1. Students will present their final models.  Each group will receive a few minutes to present and demonstrate their model.

2. After each group has presented, the class can vote on the most original/best constructed/etc.



Each project will be assessed using the following criteria: 1) Does the device allow the user to see a different angle/perspective of the space surrounding them without moving? 2) Is the device well constructed? Are there any unintentionally loose parts? 3) Does the device show creativity?

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