Negative Space People: Free Lesson Plan Download

Grade Level: 3-5 Art Education Lesson Plan

Art Elements: Space, Proportion

Art Skills: Cutting, Gluing

Making Connections: Art History, Physical Education

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Click to Download Free Lesson Plan

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I like this lesson because it combines positive/negative space and the human form.  I find that positive and negative space can be challenging to teach for understanding, especially if students are working with abstract forms.  The human form makes just makes sense and students have fun modeling and drawing each other.

tugowar copy

I have changed up this lesson over the years to incorporate current events and peak student’s interest.  It is also a great lesson to adapt to meet the needs of your students.  Here are a few more ideas:

Advanced options:

  • Try to make the Olympic rings by using 5 circles instead of 3 squares.
  • Create a series of a poses from one movement (for example: a cartwheel, karate move, dance move).
  • Let students create more than 3 poses horizontically or vertically.
  • Try to make the people relate to each other or touch in some way

olympics copy

negativespaceseries copy


  • Have students pose for each other while they draw.
  • Have a wooden human artist model for students to manipulate and draw from
  • Use a human form tracer.
  • Draw a stick person in the desired pose and then “bubble” around the stick man.
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!


6 years ago


  • Great lesson! I like how the final projects were different shapes. Sometimes I focus on the final projects all being the same and I love how yours are varied.

    • I agree, Cassidy! The different outcomes and advanced options with this lesson blow me away! So many avenues to explore.

  • Thanks! To be honest, the first time I taught this, the final pieces were pretty similar. As I gained more confidence as a teacher and talked myself into “letting go” a little (I can be a little bit of a control nut!) I found the students rose to the challenge.

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