The elements of art are the building blocks used to describe and create works of art. These components include line, shape, color, texture, value, form, and space. When students understand the elements, they have a stronger grasp on how to use them to communicate their thoughts and ideas.
A part of the journey of creating art is problem solving. Using the elements of art helps students solve composition and design issues. It gives them the confidence to make informed decisions about how to improve their work. And it aides in their ability to form more meaningful connections with artworks they might like but can not articulate why they enjoy them. This makes them a great introduction at the start of the school year.
The Element Connection
Each of the elements is related to one another in some way. Think about it like this:
- Line is most utilized element and is often the primary component in works of art.
- Lines are used to create shapes in which color or value can be added to give them dimension.
- Shapes can be joined end-to-end to compose forms.
- And lastly, any form can have a physical or implied texture.
All the elements have a cyclical relationship to one another. So when students master one it’s a stepping stone to learn the next. I feel strongly that art teachers should help demystify learning the Arts so students will be employ a growth mindset in art class.
Elements of Art Cootie Catcher Game
Most local and state elementary art curriculums require teaching about the elements, but they give no guidance in how to make it interactive and engaging. There’s only so much direct instruction a teacher can do before the students get antsy. As art teachers it’s important we differentiate our lesson plans. And where there’s a will, there’s a game for that!
I have a fun way I teach my students about the elements of art. It’s my cootie catcher game. Raise your hand if you called these “fortune tellers” when we were little. My hand is up! Either way, kids love playing them.
Included are 5 versions of the game, giving you the greatest amount of flexibility incorporating them into your art lessons. I use these elements of art fortune tellers as warm-ups at the beginning of the school year as well as a review at the end.
Another way to work them into your lessons is to have students define each vocab word as you introduce them throughout the year, building on the game until you have all the elements covered. And then play it!
Each game type includes a color as well as a black-and-white version. I use the color one as a teacher copy and print copies of the black-and-white ones for students. Students can work by themselves, in pairs, or at table groups to guess either the name of the element of art or its definition.
- In the first version, students guess the vocabulary term that they given question is referring to. It’s very straight forward and great if you have the least amount of time.
- The second game version requires students to write their own “What is…” question using whatever definition you use in class with them.
- If you want them to be able to define the vocabulary term, use the third version.
- Let’s say you want them to define the terms but using your own definitions you give them. Them use version four.
- Lastly, and this one is my favorite, why not have them draw a picture that best represents the vocabulary term and guess based on that image. They are in art class, after all.
If you’re thinking this sounds like a fun elements of art game to play, check it out in my store.
Who else uses games in class to spice things up? What kind of things do you play with your students to keep it interesting? Leave a comment below.