Investigating and responding to a stimulus

In Art and Design we can use objects, situations, experiences, stories and other stimuli to generate ideas. Creativity often begins with our imagination, memories or the things we see and experience. To develop our thoughts from creative ideas into informed art-making, we need observation and recording skills.

Helping learners to develop these observation and recording (e.g. drawing) skills is an important focus of Art and Design activities. As pupils’ knowledge and confidence grow, they learn to make choices, selecting and controlling the materials they use.

Another way to stimulate ideas in lessons is to use the work of other artists as a starting point. See Appreciating the work of artists, designers and craft workers.

Learning intentions

  • We are learning to develop a curiosity about the world we live in.
  • We are learning to explore and respond to what we see, hear and touch, and to our memories and imaginations.
  • We are learning to use resource and reference materials to stimulate ideas.

Learning Activites

To help the pupils learn to gather and record information, ask them to:

  • observe directly by looking at, touching and exploring real things;
  • collect, handle and talk about a range of objects/artefacts, e.g. feathers or shells;
  • observe in detail, for example using a magnifying glass;
  • view objects from many different angles;
  • describe what they see in detail;
  • imaginatively and spontaneously interpret stories and poems;
  • make and display collections of images and objects; and/or
  • record personal thoughts about what they know and see, for example in a diary or notebook.