ALEX Learning Activity


Photo or Painting?

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Abby Kuhn
System:Auburn City
School:Auburn City Board Of Education
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 1813
Photo or Painting?
Digital Tool/Resource:
How to Use the Grid Method With a Drawing of Chuck Close as an Example
Web Address – URL:

Students will view images of paintings and photographs. They will distinguish between the images by identifying each image as either a photograph or a painting. Students will view a YouTube video that describes how artists use the grid method to create photorealistic artwork. Students will explore the grid method technique using the provided worksheet.

This activity was created as a result of the Arts COS Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
Arts Education
ARTS (2017)
Grade: K
Visual Arts
11) Distinguish between images and real objects
a. Describe what an image represents.

Example: Compare a photograph or painting of a vase to a real vase.

Unpacked Content
Artistic Process: Responding
Anchor Standards:
Anchor Standard 7: Perceive and analyze artistic work.
Process Components: Perceive, Analyze, Interpret
Essential Questions:
EU: Visual imagery influences understanding of and responses to the world.
EQ: What is an image? Where and how do we encounter images in our world? How do images influence our views of the world?
Concepts & Vocabulary:
  • Art
  • Artwork
  • Collaboratively
  • Collage
  • Cool colors
  • Warm colors
  • Elements of Art
    • Color
    • Line
    • Shape
  • Imaginative play
  • Play
  • Portfolio
  • Primary colors
  • Principles of design
    • Pattern
  • Printmaking
Skill Examples:
  • Identify art in their community, such as landscaping, etc.
  • Communicate the ideas and stories he/she sees in a work of art.
  • Recognize and point out basic elements of art in their own artwork and that of others.
  • Describe the meaning in the marks they make on paper.
  • Compare a photograph or painting of a vase to a real vase.
  • Explain what they think a piece of artwork means.
  • Listen carefully to the point of views of others and recognize that people have different opinions and responses.
  • Share what they see in a piece of artwork by listing items seen using art vocabulary. Answer questions such as, "What do you see?" or "How does this art make you feel?"
  • Explain why they like or do not like a piece of artwork.
  • Explain why he/she likes or dislikes his/her own artwork.
Learning Objectives:

The student will distinguish between images and real objects. Students will view two images side by side and identify which image is a photograph and which image is a painting.

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

The students will view Photos vs Painting PowerPoint.

The instructor will guide a class discussion as students view the slides.
Slide One: Title
Slide Two: Ask students to compare Frida Kahlo's Photograph and self-portrait surrealist painting.
Slide Three: Ask students to compare Claude Monet's garden bridge photograph to his impressionistic landscape painting.
Slide Four: Ask students to compare Pablo Picasso's photograph of his dog Lump to his minimalist drawing of Lump.
Slide Five: Ask students to compare Andy Warhol's photograph of a soup can to his lithograph print of a soup can.

The instructor will stop to introduce Photorealism.
The instructor could say, "Photorealism is an art movement that depends heavily on photographs. It is very exact and looks extremely realistic. Some photorealistic artwork looks so REAL that it is hard to guess if it's a photo or a painting. Let's see if we can distinguish between these images and real objects."

Slide Six: Coca-Cola Slide (Photograph on the left.)
Slide Seven: Light Bulb (Photograph on the right.)
Slide Eight: Cupcake (Photograph on the right.)

The instructor will share The Grid Method video.

Students will explore the grid method using a provided grid drawing worksheet.

* The instructor may choose to use a different worksheet.

Assessment Strategies:

While students are exploring the grid technique, the instructor will use a printed copy of slides 6-8 from the PowerPoint to individually assess each student's ability to distinguish between images and real objects.

Advanced Preparation:

Download Photos vs Painting PowerPoint.
Download and make copies of Ice Cream Grid Drawing Worksheet.

Variation Tips (optional):

The instructor could add more photographs and photorealistic painting to their PowerPoint.

Notes or Recommendations (optional):

Remind students that they are exploring the grid method. Perfection is not expected on the first attempt. 

The grid worksheet is an extension of the activity to allow time for the instructor to conduct individual assessments of each student's ability to distinguish between images and real objects.

  Keywords and Search Tags  
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