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 observe, record and use aspects of our environment, and to draw on our imagination, as sources for our work.
  • We are learning to collect, examine, select and use resource material to help us develop our ideas.

Learning Activites

To help them gain experience gathering and recording information, ask the pupils to:

  • use viewfinders to isolate areas for close examination;
  • take photographs and use them as a resource for further work in the classroom;
  • research a theme as part of a class project;
  • research and select information from direct observation or, if direct observation is unavailable – for example if the theme is wild animals – from a good quality second hand source;
  • use music and/or drama as a stimulus for ideas;
  • make a display of appropriate visual resources (2D and 3D);
  • make drawings, for example in a workbook, on site during a visit; and/or
  • collect their ideas and drawings in a workbook.