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Lesson Title:

Still Life Lesson - Part 2

Focus on Design Principles of Pattern and Repetition (Part 2 in 3-part series)
Author: Kate Greene and Kelly Smaszcz
Grade/Age Level: Elementary and Early Middle School
Written here for:
3rd Grade Inclusion Class

Conceptual Basis For This Lesson:

Unit/Theme, Relation of Lesson to the Unit, Major Concepts to be Learned:

This lesson is the second of our three part still life series within the larger Unit, The Language of Art. This lesson will introduce the design principles of repetition and pattern. The lesson is designed to help the students understand that artmakers use the principles of design to manipulate and organize the art elements in creating visual images. In this lesson, the students will focus on the element of color as they add color to their still life object drawings, and the principles of repetition and pattern as they create a wallpaper background for their still life compositions. Inspired by the rich patterning of Matisse, the students will learn how to incorporate line, shape and color in creating a repeating design.

Relation to Life:

This lesson is important for the students because it increases their knowledge and understanding of the ways in which visual imagery is created. In learning how the elements of art are manipulated using the principles of design, the students are experiencing the ability to organize information in a contextual way.

Learning Standards

Goals Specific to Lesson/Unit (reflecting NYS standards, & targeted learning areas. See Abbreviation Key at end):

The students will:

  1. Increase awareness of the elements of art and the principles of design (AC, AP. Std. 1 & 3).
  2. Develop an awareness of how artists manipulate the elements of art using the principles of design to create visually effective compositions (AP, AC, Std. 1 & 3).
  3. Develop appreciation for the art form of still life and increase understanding of how the elements and principles are seen in everyday surroundings (AC, AE, Std. 3).
  4. Increase descriptive language skills (AC, AE, Std. 3, A/C).
  5. Develop critical and reflective thinking skills (AC, AE, Std. 3).
  6. Improve collaborative working skills (AP, Std. 1, S).
  7. Develop perceptual and fine motor skills (AP, Std. 1, M/P).
  8. Develop mental processes of sequential thinking and planning (AP, Std. 1, A/C).
  9. Develop memory recall skills (A/C)

Performance Objectives for Observational Assessment (reflecting goals):

The students will be able to:


  • Recall the four basic elements of art: line, shape, color and texture. Goal 1, 9
  • Recall/define the two basic kinds of shapes: geometric and free-form. Goal 1, 9
  • Define the term still life. Goal 1, 9
  • Define the design principles of pattern and repetition. Goal 1, 2, 3, 9
  • Discuss properties of pattern and repetition as seen in exemplars. Goal 1, 2, 9
  • Identify at least two examples of pattern and repetition in our environment. Goal 3
  • Describe how pattern is created in teacher exemplars of still life drawings. Goal 2, 6, 9


  • Practice creating pattern by repeating basic elements on scrap paper. Goal 2, 5, 8
  • Create a wallpaper pattern background in still life image by: Goals 2, 5, 8
    • deciding on line layout for wallpaper design (horizontal, vertical, diagonal)
    • using oil pastels to draw a pattern of line, shape color above the table line
    • create a pattern that contains at least two art elements
    • use at least two different colors in the wallpaper pattern
  • Use oil pastels to color in drawn still life objects. Goal 8
  • Use scissors to cut out objects. Goal 8
  • Assist with clean up as directed. Goal 6


  • Recall/define the principles of art/design (how we put the elements of art together to create images). Goal 1, 2, 9
  • Recall principles of repetition and pattern and describe the ways in which they are created. Goal 2, 9

Tools Needed For Application

Vocabulary (in child-friendly terms):

  • Pattern: A design created by repeating the elements.
  • Repetition: To repeat elements- line, shape, color or texture.
  • Principles of Design: The ways we put the elements of art together to create images; the methods we use to organize the elements, to put them together in a way that looks good to the eye.


  • Teacher-made: three unfinished pattern exemplars for wallpaper design (1 horizontally, 1 vertically and 1 diagonally oriented); elements and principles chart; teacher product of finished still life.
  • Art Resources: artworks that show principles of pattern and repetition such as those by Matisse, Cezanne, African Adinkra cloth, Hopi pottery; still life objects.

Materials and Preparation:

  • Large drawing pad and black marker- demo
  • Oil pastels
  • Straight edges (rulers) for drawing wallpaper lines
  • Black sharpies
  • Manila paper for practice and final work
  • 14x18 blue and/or purple construction paper for still life with pre-drawn table line, app. 1/3 of the way up from the bottom edge
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Thick lead drawing pencils
  • Wet wipes, scrubby sponges (to remove oil pastel) and buckets


Procedural Steps:


1. Lead teachers open with the Hello Song, and a recall of the four basic elements of art: line, shape, color and texture.

2. Lead teachers have students recall/define the two basic kinds of shapes: geometric and free-form, and last week’s drawing activities that focused on line to create shape.

3. Lead teachers recall/define the term still life as seen in art exemplar.

4. Lead teachers define the principles of design- the ways we put the elements of art together to create images. As an example, the lead teachers point to the students’ line collages posted around the room, having children recall that they used ideas and principles of repeating and overlapping to make their designs look good; that they were “seeing with the eye of an artmaker”, and making good artistic decisions about their designs. Lead teachers reinforce that the elements are what we use to make designs and pictures, and the principles are how we use the elements to make the designs look good.

5. Teachers present the art exemplars, recall the artist, Henri Matisse, and show ways pattern is created: by using repetition. Students are asked to point out and describe how Matisse and others formed the patterns in their images (using which elements and principles).

6. Teachers ask the students to find/name examples of pattern and repetition that they see in their everyday lives (around the room, in our clothes, in nature, etc.)

7. Teachers suggest that we can use pattern today by creating a wallpaper design for the background of our still life pictures. Teachers show unfinished wallpaper pattern exemplars (1 vertically, 1 horizontally and 1 diagonally oriented) and have students point out the ways pattern was created. Students will also be asked to discuss how the patterns should be completed (which elements should be repeated)?

8. Teachers ask students to recall the three directions the patterns are oriented (vertical, horizontal and diagonal).

9. Teachers suggest that we are now ready to create our own patterned wallpaper backgrounds for the still life drawings we started last week.


10. Everyone proceeds to work areas and S/T’s distribute scrap paper for students to practice creating pattern. S/Ts check and make sure that all the children understand pattern before proceeding to their good paper.

11. Students begin creating their wallpaper patterns by deciding on a layout: horizontal, vertical or diagonal. They can use rulers if necessary to draw in background lines. Students then begin drawing/repeating their patterns with oil pastels. S/T’s remind the students that they should begin their patterns above the pre-drawn table line.

12. S/T’s should remind students that their patterns should contain at least 2 basic art elements, including 2 different colors.

13. S/T’s reinforce the components of pattern as the student’s wallpaper designs progress, until the entire background is covered.

14. In addition to having the students create their wallpaper patterns, any students who did not finish last week, will continue working on their still life object drawings from last class. These should also be cut out.

15. When finished, students will aid S/T’s in the clean up of materials. Students can clean their hands with wet wipes and scrubby sponges if necessary. Work will be hung for closing discussion.


16. All reconvene in the front of the class. Lead teachers have children recall the use of the principles of repetition and pattern, and how they are created.

17. Lead teachers have children recall that principles are how we put the elements of art together, which creates imagery.

18. Leaders give preview of next week’s lesson on spatial relationships and overlapping as we place out still life objects “on the table

19. Nametags are collected, and everyone sings the Good-bye Song.


In addition to observation of Performance Objectives described above, questions to ask might include:

  • Do the images represent an understanding of how pattern is created?
  • Do the patterns go beyond basic requirements by varying lines, shapes and colors, and/or by incorporating more than one pattern?

Curriculum Connections:

This lesson can be incorporated with other disciplines such as Music. Students can look for the principles of design while exploring various sounds and melodies. Students can also look for repeated components and patterns, and overall balance or unity in a piece.

Abbreviation Key

NYS Standards for the Arts:
AH = Art History Std. 1 = creating, participating in art
AC = Art Criticism Std. 2 = knowing art materials and processes
AE = Aesthetics Std. 3 = responding to works of art/artists
AP = Art Production Std. 4 = knowing cultural dimensions of art

Needs Assessment Areas for Developing Skills and Abilities:
A/C    = academic/cognitive M/P = motor/perceptual  E = emotional
C        = communicative status W/S = work/study habits S = social
Pre-V = prevocational skills  L = living skills  

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