The Elements of Art: Form

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Subject Area

Arts Education


3, 4


Students will explore form in sculptures by Alexander Calder.  They will experiment with lines by drawing and creating sculptures.  

Arts Education (2017) Grade(s): 3 - Visual Arts


Use learned vocabulary to evaluate artwork based on given criteria.



  • Creativity
  • Criteria
  • Critique
  • Design
  • Media
  • Mixed media
  • Monochromatic
  • Principles of design
    • Rhythm
  • Technology
  • Visual image

Essential Questions

EU: People evaluate art based on various criteria.
EQ: How does one determine criteria to evaluate a work of art? How and why might criteria vary? How is a personal preference different from an evaluation?

Skills Examples

  • Identify the basic elements of art in a work of art through discussion and writing.
  • Observe and compare similar themes in artwork from historical and contemporary eras.
  • Theorize how individuals can have different opinions about works of art.
  • Demonstrate and apply critiques of personal work and the work of others in a positive way.
  • Select an art object and explain reasons why it is a work of art.
  • Use feedback and self-assessment to improve the quality of personal artwork.
  • Discuss the difference between Meret Oppenheim's Object and an everyday cup.
  • Discuss how art can be related to other subject areas.

Anchor Standards

Anchor Standard 9: Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work.
Arts Education (2017) Grade(s): 4 - Visual Arts


Individually brainstorm multiple approaches to an art problem.



  • Constructed environment
  • Cultural traditions
  • Digital format
  • Engagement
  • Tertiary color
  • Preservation
  • Proportion
  • Principles of design
    • Unity
  • Shade
  • Style
  • Tints & shades

Essential Questions

EU: Creativity and innovative thinking are essential life skills that can be developed.
EQ: What conditions, attitudes, and behaviors support creativity and innovative thinking? What factors prevent or encourage people to take creative risks? How does collaboration expand the creative process?

Skills Examples

  • Create a list of multiple ideas, sketches, or thumbnail-sketches before beginning the final version of an artwork.
  • Identify, select, and vary art materials, tools and processes to achieve desired results in their artwork.
  • Brainstorm (alone or with others) potential art styles for a given piece of art, such as Monet's Water Lilies.
  • Create an artwork from direct observation (still-life, self-portrait, figure drawing, etc.).
  • Design a two-dimensional drawings of a futuristic art room, town, or planet
  • Use wood, found objects, wire, paper, or clay-based materials to construct a three-dimensional form.
  • Locate business logos in the community and explore the visual arts skills and materials that were used to create these works.
  • Engage in group critiques of one's work and the work of others.
  • Experiment with art materials by using them in unusual and creative ways to express ideas and convey meaning.
  • Use and care for materials, tools, and equipment in a manner that prevents danger to oneself and others.
  • Mix equal parts of a primary and a secondary color located beside each other on the color wheel to create a tertiary color.
  • Use the design principles of repetition and alignment to add visual unity to an artwork.
  • Create a painting using a monochromatic color scheme by using one color (red) adding white to create a tint (a lighter value--pink) and adding black to the color (red) to create a shade (darker value).

Anchor Standards

Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.

CR Resource Type

Learning Activity

Resource Provider


License Type


Resource Provider other

National Gallery of Art