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Shapes & Angles

What's left in art when you take away anything that looks like something? Kandinsky did it---leaving color, line, shapes, and angles!

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. What makes art? What are the basic elements of any painting? Would something be art if you couldn't recognize anything in the painting? Would a painting be art if it was only lines and shapes?
    2. A Russian painter asked these same questions. Wassily Kandinsky, born in Moscow on December 4, 1866, wanted to take away anything that looked like something in his art. He used color, line, shapes, and angles to create his art. He believed that feeling was art's most important element. The art that he pioneered is called Abstract. What do you think that term means? Provide students with access to resources about Kandinsky's life and career in art.
    3. If Kandinsky only used lines and shapes, then where he put those became very important. This is called the composition. The word compose is used when writing music as well as making a picture.
    4. Kandinsky used music (without words) as a model for his new Abstract art. In what ways are music and art similar? Music is made of notes that are simply sound. They communicate to the listener in a different way than words do. Look at some of the modern work by Kandinsky and others. What art elements characterize their style?
    5. Invite students create abstract art that communicates feelings. Pose questions such as: Are you excited about an upcoming game or dance? Worried about a test? Happy that a friend is going to the movies with you? On white paper, students use Crayola® Construction Paper Crayons to draw shapes that illustrate their feelings.
    6. Another way to make color shapes is to tear or cut construction paper with Crayola Scissors. A straight edge can help to create sharp lines and angles. Shapes can be glued on paper with a Crayola Glue Stick.
    7. Working in pairs or small groups, students exchange their Shapes & Angles with a classmate. Encourage students to talk about the feelings Abstract art communicates.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    LA: Participate in shared research and writing projects.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    MATH: Understand that attributes belonging to a category of two-dimensional figures also belong to all subcategories of that category.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select media, techniques, an processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of choices.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Kandinsky by Hajo Duchting; Take-Off! the Life and Work of: Wassily Kandinsky by Paul Fluz;

    Encourage students to measure all the angles in one of Kandinsky's works of art. How many different angles can you find? After measuring each angle, classify it as either straight, reflex, right, obtuse, or acute. What types of lines do you find? Are there any parallel lines? Intersecting lines? Can you name all the shapes in the artwork?

    Students create a second Kandinsky-like piece. Cut the Abstract composition into a puzzle. Can you re-assemble it? Give it to a classmate. Can he re-assemble it correctly? Discuss what clues in the pieces assisted with re-assembling the art.

    Students research the life and professional career of Kandinsky. While he was born in Russia, he also lived in Germany and then fled to Paris. Consider the ways in which the political climate of the times affected the artist and his work.

    Students research other artists and musical composer contemporaries of Kandinsky. Compare and contrast their work to that of Kandinsky.


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