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Foolproof Positive-Negative Designs: Free Lesson Plan Download

Grade Level: 3-5 Art Education Lesson Plan

Art Elements: Space

Art Skills: Cutting

Making Connections: Design

Click to Download Free Lesson Plan
Click to Download Free Lesson Plan

* Get more free lessons like this, on our Lessons Page

I’ve always had a love – hate relationship with positive / negative space lessons. First, I become unmotivated to teach them because they don’t involve some type of art history or culture, second, the student products have not been stellar for me in past years.

This year, I tried a new lesson with 4th grade and added a few tricks, making both the students (and myself) much happier with the result.

You probably get the basics: Students are given two papers, one large colored and one smaller black square. They cut out a shape, and flip it to create a design.

What Works:

  1. Have students glue down the small pieces as they work around the square, but leave the center piece to be glued down until the very end. No loose pieces to be lost and it helps kids work more systematically.
  2. Make a little guideline on the corners of the template so they know where to line up the center square each time they cut out a new shape.
  3. Demonstrate a technique (ie: Cutting a wavy shape) and then have them try it. Do this for a few of the shapes before you let them go on their own. This one technique upped the quality of this project and also inspired confidence in students while still maintaining freedom and creativity. (Notice no two look the same).
  4. Encourage large and small shapes and to fill the entire black square with designs.
This lesson took about 2-3,  45 minute class periods and they really look great on display!
Hope these tips help you to become more POSITIVE about Positive- Negative space!

This great Art Ed lesson plan is 100% FREE to download! Use it in your classroom and share with your colleagues. For more free lessons like this one, visit our Lessons Page and download them all!

8 years ago