Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Great Barrier Reef Paintings

By Tim, (Year 3), 2011

Lesson Background:
As a part of our unit of work on Australian geography, icons and landmarks, I decided my class would enjoy producing some paintings of the Great Barrier Reef.  They loved seeing photos of the brightly coloured fish and coral and tried to recreate this in their artworks.  I think they did very well!  We used the stunning artwork by Des Spencer (see below) as well as lots of photographs, for inspiration:

Lesson Steps:

1)  We looked at the artwork above and at lots of photos of the Great Barrier Reef.  We observed the different shapes, colours and textures of different fish and coral.
2)  The students used the artwork above to help them draw a large fish in the middle of their A3 art paper.  I demonstrated how to do this first.  They were then encouraged to modify their fish by changing the fins, tail, patterns etc, in order to make it unique.
3)  Using photos as a guide, myself and a number of my clever and keen students, drew samples of different fish and coral on the board.  Students watched this modelling and then drew their own coral and fish onto their artwork, also adding in the ocean floor.
4)  I demonstrated to the students how to mix acrylic paint, keep the paint clean and how to outline shapes before filling them in.
5)  I also demonstrated how to use light, shade and varied textures on their fish and coral.  Some of my students had a great go at this tricky technique!
6)  Students painted their artworks and when dry, outlined their shapes in black permanent markers.

Year 3 Student Artworks:

By Andrew

By Kundai

By Ethan

By Ailec

By Denzelle

By Keyan

By Angus

By Tom

By Jia

By Shaun
By Liam

3B class artworks


  1. hi from 2t at Point Clare. Thankyou for your wonderful art works and the great lesson plans. My class has truly been inspired by your work on the Great Barrier Reef and now we are busy creating our own art works.I am thrilled at what they have taken from this lesson

    1. I'm so pleased to hear that this lesson was helpful! It's such a simple art activity, but when the artworks are all placed together, it really looks effective. Hopefully it helped to brighten your classroom :)