ALEX Lesson Plan


Ambiguous Pictures/Abstract Art

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Abby Gorum
System: Shelby County
School: Shelby County Board Of Education
  General Lesson Information  
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.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
AED (3) Visual Arts
1. Utilize a variety of processes and media in the production of artwork.
Examples: producing a drawing using markers and crayons, creating a painting using watercolors and pastels on watercolor paper
  • Utilizing digital processes to produce works of art
  • Example: using a paint program to design a digital quilt
    AED (3) Visual Arts
    5. Demonstrate appropriate safety, care, and use of art materials and equipment.
    AED (3) Visual Arts
    9. Contrast artistic styles of various cultures, times, and places.
    cultures--Asian landscapes versus Albert Bierstadt's American landscapes,
    times--art deco interiors versus minimalist interiors,
    places--paintings of covered bridges in rural areas versus suspension bridges in urban areas
  • Using digital media to compare artistic styles of various works of art
  • Identifying symbols from different cultures, times, and places that portray common themes
  • Examples: color purple relating to royalty, arrow or spear symbolizing the hunt
    AED (4) Visual Arts
    2. Use traditional and digital media in the production of graphic design to communicate ideas and feelings.
    Example: designing posters, book covers, or logos on the themes of recycling, drug awareness, or endangered species
    AED (4) Visual Arts
    6. Compare different interpretations of the same subject or theme in art.
    Example: landscapes by Impressionist and Hudson River School artists
    AED (5) Visual Arts
    4. Critique personal works of art orally or in writing according to specified criteria, including elements of art, principals of design, technical skill, and creativity.
  • Organizing the progression of artwork in a personal portfolio
  • AED (5) Visual Arts
    6. Describe works of art according to the style of various cultures, times, and places.
    cultures--artistic styles of Native American cultures of the Southwestern and Pacific Northwestern United States,
    times--Asher B. Durand's early nineteenth-century painting Kindred Spirits,
    places--gargoyles and sculptures known as grotesques from European countries
  • Describing ways in which the subject matter of other disciplines is interrelated with the visual arts
  • Examples:
    mathematics--Mavrits Cornelis (M. C.) Esher and tesselations;
    language arts--Patricia Pollaco and book illustrations;
    social studies--Matthew Brady and Civil War photography;
    science--transformation of shapes to forms, circles to spheres, squares to cubes, and triangles to pyramids
    AED (5) Visual Arts
    7. Associate a particular artistic style with an individual artist.
    Examples: Claude Monet with Impressionism, Claes Oldenberg with pop art, Alfred Leslie with photorealism
  • Using traditional and digital media to arrange works of art according to culture, theme, and historical period
  • Example: arranging works of art within a specific art movement or on a timeline
    TC2 (3-5)
    2. Use various technology applications, including word processing and multimedia software.
  • Using navigational features commonly found in technology applications
  • Identifying digital file types
  • TC2 (3-5)
    12. Create a product using digital tools.
    Examples: products—digital story, podcast, digital artwork

    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.

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    61 to 90 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    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.


    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.