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This lesson provided by:
Author:Abby Gorum
System: Shelby County
School: Shelby County Board Of Education
Lesson Plan ID: 5124

Ambiguous Pictures/Abstract Art


In this lesson students learn how perspective can change the meaning of art. The students will use a digital camera to take extreme close-ups of objects, thus causing the pictures to become resemble abstract art. This project incorporates art, writing and technology.

Content Standard(s):
AED(3) Visual Arts1. Utilize a variety of processes and media in the production of artwork.
AED(3) Visual Arts5. Demonstrate appropriate safety, care, and use of art materials and equipment.
AED(3) Visual Arts9. Contrast artistic styles of various cultures, times, and places.
AED(4) Visual Arts2. Use traditional and digital media in the production of graphic design to communicate ideas and feelings.
AED(4) Visual Arts6. Compare different interpretations of the same subject or theme in art.
AED(5) Visual Arts4. Critique personal works of art orally or in writing according to specified criteria, including elements of art, principals of design, technical skill, and creativity.
AED(5) Visual Arts6. Describe works of art according to the style of various cultures, times, and places.
AED(5) Visual Arts7. Associate a particular artistic style with an individual artist.
TC2(3-5) 2. Use various technology applications, including word processing and multimedia software.
TC2(3-5) 12. Create a product using digital tools.
Local/National Standards:  
Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will define the terms abstract and ambiguous as they relate to art. Students will analyze what makes some art abstract.
Students will compare and contrast the difference between non-objective and abstract art.
Students will discuss whether abstract and non-objective pictures are actually art.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will use a digital camera to create abstract art.

Approximate Duration of the Lesson: 61 to 90 Minutes
Materials and Equipment:

Printing paper

Technology Resources Needed:

Computers, digital cameras, floppy disks, printer, digital imaging software, DANAs or AlphaSmarts (optional)

1.)The teacher will discuss with students what abstract art is. The teacher will show them examples of abstract art such as work from Georgia O'Keeffe, Picasso, Klee, etc. and compare with non-objective art from Mondrian, Pollock, Kandinsky, etc. Have the students discuss the similarities and differences.

2.)The teacher will talk with students about how there are different types of abstractions such as changing a picture from its original form or showing an extreme close-up so that the picture becomes abstract or ambiguous. This is similar to what Georgia O'Keeffe did with flowers.

3.)The teacher will demonstrate to the students how to use a digital camera to take close-ups of objects so that they look abstract or ambiguous. Have the students move about the room, outside, anywhere that the teacher feels comfortable letting them roam to take pictures. The trick is for them to spread out so that they do not see who is taking pictures of what.

4.)When all the students have taken at least three pictures, have them preview the pictures either on the digital camera or on the computer through the digital imaging software.

5.)Let the students pick the best of their pictures-- the one that is ambiguous but not so much so that someone couldn't guess what it was after examining it closely.

6.)Have the students pair up. Print the pictures and give them to the partners instead of the owners. The students must try to guess what it is. The students will integrate reading and writing into the project by using DANAs or AlphaSmarts to write a few sentences describing and guessing what the object is.

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Assessment Strategies:

Teacher observation of student participation, class discussion, and end products will be used for assessment.


Students can use the abstract picture they took and abstract it further into a drawing. They can take a section of the photograph and place a viewfinder on top or tape off a square section. Students will then enlarge this section onto a 6" x 6" (or larger) square piece of drawing paper, then use colored pencils to color the image.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior

Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
Variations Submitted by ALEX Users:
Alabama Virtual Library
Alabama Virtual Library

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The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Malone Family Foundation
The Malone Family Foundation
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