Exploring an Object and Related Concepts Through Art-Based Research

Lesson/Project Plan


Exploring an Object and Related Concepts Through Art-Based Research

Overview: Students will research an object and related ideas and create a series of images based on that research


Enduring Understandings/Big Ideas: Art is a way to come to know things and to convey ideas Artists are researchers who develop ideas and knowledge. Objects have meaning and are the source of artistic research and ideas


Understanding Goals: Understand art making as a form of research in which the artist comes to understand the subject through observation, analysis, connection-making and creative play. Understand that all objects (natural, cultural, technological) harbor meaning and are connected to other things Understand the subject of the research, the concepts embedded in it and connecting ideas and things. Understand how to do art-based research and to develop ideas through following a conceptual thread.


Art techniques: Concept map-making, drawing, painting, book and box making

Creative Strategies: Mapping, re-formatting, juxtaposing, projecting, transforming

Studio Habit: Stretch and explore


Cultural/art/visual culture connections:  

Vocabulary: Materials: Personal objects, drawing paper, pens, needles, thread, tag board, masking tape, patterned papers, collage materials, glue sticks

Equipment: Hot glue guns, computer, internet access, printer


Introduction: Provocation/ Engage Learners: Power point presentation of student work: art research, mapping and object, mapping a research trail

Demonstration:Demonstrate concept mapping of an object

Questions for starting:What is your object? What does it do? Where did it come from? What is its history? What is it connected to? How is it reflective of you, your culture and your interests?


1. Student ‘interviews’ his/her object.          

2. Student observes and draws the object in the center of a 12”x18” piece of paper          

3. Student maps out what he/she observes and ideas, issues and things associated with his/her object          

4. Student picks one or two ideas to explore          

5. Student researches these ideas in books, on the internet and finds images and text          

6. Student creates a series of images and writings that explore the ideas          

7. Student creates a book or box for the images

Closure: Books and boxes are displayed



Reflection/critique tools and techniques: Student maps out the steps of his/her research trail. Student writes about the object, the ideas and the process

Ongoing Assessment tools and techniques: Regular check-ins with students as they work.

Summative Assessment   Criteria: Research: Student performed research in beginning and all the way through the art making.

Product: The artwork reflects the ideas researched and amplifies meaning Creative Strategy: Student stretched and explored, used a creative strategy

Concepts: Student writings and images show grasp of ideas/concepts (understanding goals) Assessment tool: Rubric (Research, Product, Creative Strategy, understandings) Questions for Reflection: How did you research your object? What steps did you take? How does your object connect with ideas, issues and things? What ideas did you follow? Where did this lead you? What did you learn from this research? How does your artwork reflect or convey the ideas you discovered or generated as you did your research? What did you learn from making your artwork?

Connections: Art-based research shares ideas, subject matter and methods with other disciplines.  In following a research trail students cross into realms of science, math, social studies and language arts. Verbal and visual literacy

Extension: Apply art-based research to other subjects, ideas and art projects

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