Seeing Near and Far


Lesson Title: Seeing Near and Far

Grade Level: Third


Understanding Art: Students will explain how overlapping and size differences show perspective, and that on a level surface, the lowest part of a near subject is lower in a picture than the lowest part of a farther subject. Learners will recognize which objects in a picture are near and which are far. This is an introduction to the concept of the illusion of depth on a two-dimensional surface.

Creating Art: Students will use scissors to cut out simple animal shapes. Learners will arrange shapes, using size and overlapping, to show perspective.

Appreciating Art: Students will identify the differences among near and far objects in the environment.

Vocabulary: perspective, overlap, horizon, horizon line


Materials: Each student needs: crayons or water-markers, four sheets of different colors of construction paper, scissors, and glue.

Example Images: Photographs and/or art images which demonstrate our new concepts. These may be pictures students are asked to find by leafing through old magazines, cutting out images that they think show near and far objects.

Guided Teaching:

Focus on Looking and Thinking: Showing students examples of two-dimensional images which have near and far elements, ask students what makes these good examples. Point out how overlap and differences in size help to achieve an illusion of depth. Point out how these things can be seen in the actual space around them.

Focus on Making Art: Students will draw the shape of an animal on each of three pieces of paper, each animal being the same kind of animal, but a different size. After drawing a horizon line on their last sheet of paper, they will arrange their animals on that last sheet so as to utilize the size differences and the level of each animal's lowest part in order to achieve their illusion of near and far. Finally, students will draw additional elements to complete an image of an environment for their animals.




Here are links to pages about the program for other grades, and what we emphasize in each grade:

  • 1st & 2nd -- creativity with color, pattern, and large tools. Pinch pots. Visit our gallery of 1st graders' family-portraits.
  • 3rd -- landscapes, an illusion of depth, self-portraits. Visit our gallery of 3rd grade students' self-portraits.
  • 4th -- Arizona's art heritage, realism and abstraction, game theory & maze design, drawing from a model, and first work on a potter's wheel (SSES only)
  • 5th -- surrealism, achieving a likeness, using an ever wider variety of media, and America's art heritage.
  • 6th -- architectural design and history, slab-constructed pottery, and the world's art history.


    Copyright © Michael Delahunt, M.F.A.