Students will make specific, focused observations on natural objects

Students will make connections and associations with things from their every day lives

Students will practice analyzing and recording observations of natural objects using art vocabulary

Cards for Art Elements and Principles Observations Side 1 and Side 2

Have students separate a blank page into four quadrants.

Give one card each to students making observations on a specific subject or object.

Allow them a minute or two to write down or draw answers to the element or principle they are being asked about on their card.

Have students pass their card on to their neighbor.

Repeat until all four quadrants are filled.

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I thought of doing scientific observations with art elements when I was teaching general art at David Douglas High School. It's a structure that art educators learn to help students develop skills for analyzing images and developing their own artwork. When I returned to Outdoor School, I saw that it could be a good structure for helping students make scientific, and interesting, observations as well.

I wanted so badly to embed a video here that would do a great job of explaining the elements and principles of art.

Unfortunately, all of the videos I saw on youtube are either for babies, too boring, have poor sound, or use comic sans. See for yourself.

Perhaps you disagree. In which case - there! You have already found a video that has given you great information in a way that you love.

In the case that you agree: Here's the deal. Art teachers quickly learn to recite the Elements and Principles of Art (or Design) like the seven dwarves.

The elements are: Line, Shape, Form, Value, Color, Space, and Texture.

The principles are: Movement, Contrast, Size, Repetition, Balance, Emphasis, and Unity (or Harmony).

If you've heard different words for the principles, that's fine: I feel like every resource I go to has a different set of words. The elements are always the same.

The Elements of Art are frequently compared to letters of the alphabet. The Principles of Art are similarly compared to spelling and grammar. The arrangement and order of colors and lines and shapes can be repeated to make a pattern, or isolated and emphasized to get the viewer's attention. Can something be balanced if it isn't perfectly symmetrical? Try asking a group of 11 year olds. It is entertaining.

OK wait, I found a video that I like. If you are still reading this, and you want to watch a video, try this one.