The Outside of My House
Draw and/or paint on large paper the front view of child’s home. Emphasize the basic form of the home by discussing shapes commonly seen in homes of area. Observe the front entrance or doorway to the building as well as the window pattern. Note, if there is any decorative ornamentation. If home is part of a larger housing complex have the child isolate the front of the building section that they inhabit. Continue by discussing exterior grassy areas in front of home or walks that lead to front entrance. Attempt to position home on the ground. Do not try to include other elevations of home, i.e., do not show side or back views.
As a supplementary activity children can cut and glue large front views of their homes using black on white. Folding to cut symmetrical forms found in homes can be instructional in terms of cutting openings for doors and windows.
The Inside of
Somewhat more challenging is the process of having each student imagine that he/she would be able to remove the entire front exterior wall of his home. This can be called a section or x-ray view of the interior of the front of his/her home. Draw using pencils markers, and/or pen and ink on large paper the interior of the child’s home. Include all levels of the home from the basement to the attic. Include only the interior spaces that can be viewed from the front of the home. Discuss what common rooms are observed to face out towards the street. Outline in heavier lines the outer walls and levels that separate each floor. Within each space or room draw the furniture as simple shapes. In the basement draw the full source(s) of the home if found there. If the attic is used for storage draw some of the objects found there. Finally draw yourself in one of the spaces.
Looking Down Into My Room (or Looking Down Into One Level
Depending upon the ability level of the class have the students imagine that they were above their room looking down and inside the outer walls that enclose the space. A ruler can be utilized for straight lines, but no emphasis is placed upon measuring space. If students have difficulty, a piece of drawing paper can be cut into rectangular/square shapes to assist in drawing the room. Have the students imagine that they are walking through the door opening into their room. Walk to familiar pieces of furniture or objects in your room. Think about where each wall is placed and any windows that are found in each wall.
The Picture Language of the Architect
The above three lessons involving student’s own homes require the student’s memory. In order to reinforce the student’s perceptual skills in how the architect visually represents space on a two dimensional surface, the following activities utilize a small object to present the three conventional views used by the architect. Dependent upon the abilities of the students the use of scale and complex measurement is not suggested. The three views are known as
. The emphasis is upon drawing parallel lines perpendicular to the drawing surface. Known as orthographic there is no attempt to represent three dimensional qualities. Common objects for this lesson can be collected so that each student can have a close view of the object as well as an opportunity to touch the object. Suggestions for objects may include food: pieces of fruit and vegetables, small toys, candy bars, models of cars, boats, etc. Drawings can be done using pencil, crayon, markers and/or pen and ink.
The elevation drawing of the object is the horizontal view of one side or face of the object. It includes the exterior details of the one side of the object. Using a model car as an example, an elevation view can be one side of the car that includes the outer body of the car showing doors, windows, fenders, tires, etc.
The section drawing of the object is the horizontal view of one side or face of the object after that side or face has been visually removed. It is a view of the interior space. Some objects can have the side opened. A piece of fruit or a candy bar can be cut open. The body of a model might be able to be removed showing the interior details.
The plan drawing of the object is the sectional view that looks down inside the object. It is an interior view of the object after the top has been removed. Using the example of a car model the plan view would be the interior forms and spaces seen when the roof of the car is removed.
The three views of a simple object are intended not only to be descriptive, but to increase the student’s awareness of spatial elements.
Near? What is Far Away
In order to encourage the development of spatial perception in children it becomes important to the child to want to know how to present forms in three dimensional space. Being a more advanced skill developmentally, it is presented here as separate activities. This does not mean that the student’s perception of distance is acquired in isolated instances. The goal is that the student achieve success and understanding. In order not to create visual confusion color will not be used. Black, values of grey and white will be utilized with paper, paint and pencil.
There are four characteristics that can be presented in art activities to demonstrate distance in three dimensional space.
The Horizon: Near is Down. Far is Up.
Density of Texture
I. The Horizon: Near is Down. Far is Up.
Draw a horizontal line freely or with the aid of a ruler across a piece of drawing paper. This line represents the natural horizon. The area above the horizon becomes sky while the area below the horizon becomes land or water. The area below the horizon can be divided into three levels of distance: front, middle and back. Select three simple objects or shapes. Cut one
object from black paper which will be glued in the space near the bottom of the paper. Cut one
object from grey paper. Magazines can be used for their wide variety of grey values. Glue the middle object or shape in the space between the bottom and the horizon line. Finally cut a shape in a lighter grey for the
object and glue it near or on the horizon line. At this point discuss adding other front, middle or back shapes that may be drawn or cut from black and varied grey papers. The goal is to suggest three levels of distance in space. Near objects are down near the bottom of the paper. As objects move farther back in space they are placed higher up on the paper. The use of black and grey values can assist in strengthening the appearance of distance.
II. Overlapping Forms
Draw a horizon line across a piece of drawing paper. The area above the horizon line represents sky while the area below the line represents land or water. Have the students cut at least five shapes using black and grey papers. Arrange the five shapes so that they overlap one another. All of the shapes must overlap. Discuss how shapes appear to be in front, middle and back relative to their arrangement and the horizon line.
III. Diminishing Size
As objects are perceived in three dimensional space they visually appear to become smaller and shorter in relation to the observer as they recede to the horizon. For the purposes of this problem no attempt is made at formal skills in perspective drawing unless the visual maturity of the students demonstrates a readiness for instruction.
Have students draw a horizon line across their drawing paper. Using cut paper in black and values of grey have students cut a series of eight to ten objects that gradually reduce in size from large to small, tall to short. Some examples that commonly express themselves well in reduced size are: simple forms of people or animals, buildings, trees, flowers, insects, cars, airplanes, birds, etc. Shapes can have details added with drawing or cut paper. Have students arrange their series of shapes from large to small. The largest can be considered the closest to the observer and the smallest the farthest away, near or on the horizon line. Have students complete their composition by adding details to the ground or water below the horizon and the sky above the horizon.
IV. Density of Texture
The density of texture as part of an object’s surface is another characteristic of perceiving three dimensional space. Students can have practice in creating surface textures through drawings and rubbings. Small pieces of drawing paper can be used to make rubbings of surface textures in the classroom and/or from collections of objects. Students can also be given practice in drawing texture: vertical and horizontal lines of varying thickness and spacing, crosshatching, scribbling and dot drawing. After the student has acquired an assortment of textured papers he/she can cut and arrange the textured shapes on paper. This activity can make use of the horizon line as well as overlapping forms and diminishing sizes. The goal is to increase the student’s awareness of three dimensional space as it is represented on a flat (paper) two dimensional surface.
Constructing a Model: The Doll House
Valuable to developing skills in space perception is having experiences with the construction of forms. In this problem students are to build one room of a “doll house.” The term “doll house” does not have to be used directly with students since some students, particularly boys, may find this term offensive at the middle school level. Students will be constructing with paper and easily cut cardboard a room of their choice. This room is to have an outside and an inside. The basic shape of the room can be rectangular, square, triangular, circular or any shape appropriate to the function of the room. Students at the middle level have interests that may influence the design of their room: sports, music, entertainment, need for social interaction with peers, privacy, fashion, etc. The room will contain model furniture suitable to the function of the room constructed by each student. Important to the scale of objects in the room as well as the use of space and movement around the room is the construction of a model of the student in his/her room. In order that the students have success in constructing their room appropriate skills need to be demonstrated. These skills include: cutting, folding, scoring, rolling and curling. Joining forms for strength necessitates learning how to make tabs, hinges and interlocking slits. For this project students may use paint on surfaces that are strong enough not to warp.
In conclusion the above activities and preceding objectives can be considered valuable learning experiences for young people. As adults of the future today’s students will probably have decisions to make in regard to their living and working environments. Spatial learning for young people can contribute positively.