Line Exploration Yields Exciting Results!

Grades PS-1st were engaged in a multi-week line study resulting in two very different final works of art. All ages circulated through collaborative centers where students explored a variety of ways that lines bend, move, and interact with one another in preparation for their end of unit projects.

IMG_6590 (2017_01_03 03_23_10 UTC)Here, first graders are working collaboratively to extend a line made from Popsicle sticks beyond the studio door.

Job well done, Kiddos!IMG_7066 (2017_01_03 03_23_10 UTC)IMG_6210 (2017_01_03 03_23_10 UTC)IMG_6208 (2017_01_03 03_23_10 UTC)

Combining rigid Popsicle sticks to create the “World’s Longest Line” across the studio floor and out the door into the hallway was a popular center no matter the age level. Here, students learned how to change the direction of straight lines in order to get loops and bends. They discovered that zigzag lines and many shapes are made up of a series of straight lines that connect! Who knew?!

IMG_6721 (2017_01_03 03_23_10 UTC)Grid lines, starbursts, and tightly woven lines create a trampoline-like effect!

IMG_6207 (2017_01_03 03_23_10 UTC)IMG_6202 (2017_01_03 03_23_10 UTC)

IMG_6621 (2017_01_03 03_23_10 UTC)

Weaving on the finger loom reminded us of how many geometric shapes are made up of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines that connect or even intersect. Letters of the alphabet can also be created by combining vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines. Above, a student demonstrated how to make the letter ‘K’ using one vertical line and two diagonal lines.

IMG_6654 (2017_01_03 03_23_10 UTC)IMG_6623 (2017_01_03 03_23_10 UTC)

The sewing center showed us how to connect simple lines to form complex shapes. A square, for examples, requires four equal lines, two horizontal and two vertical!

IMG_6658 (2017_01_03 03_23_10 UTC)IMG_6626 (2017_01_03 03_23_10 UTC)

Rulers and geometric shapes were fun tools to practice tracing and drawing straight lines with the help of a flat edge. Students challenged themselves to make creatures using only line and shape at this center. Mastery of the ruler is something students still struggle with in the upper grades. Centers provide a low-stress opportunity to practice and discover new ways to use tools efficiently.

Early childhood students applied their new knowledge of line and shape to create wonderfully creative and expressive abstract self-portraits in the style of artist Paul Klee for their culminating project.


These finished works of art were proudly displayed at the Create DC event hosted by DCPS at Union Market. You can catch them hanging at Maury right now if you hustle!


At the beginning of our K-1 unit studying LINE and the way artists use line to express ideas such as movement, I asked students to consider objects that leave proof of their motion in their path.

We’ve all seen the classic image of a train barreling down the tracks, a billowing cloud of smoke trailing behind as it chugs heartily along the mountain pass. Have you ever stopped to consider that the cloud of smoke running parallel to the train is also evidence of the train’s path of motion? Together, we came up with jet contrails, the wake behind a boat, and even the ribbon trail left as evidence of a rhythmic gymnast’s artistic choreography.

train smokejet contrails

boat wake

Aliya Yussupova of Kazakhstan performs with the ribbon during the individual all-around final of the rhythmic gymnastics competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

Aliya Yussupova of Kazakhstan performs with the ribbon during the individual all-around final of the rhythmic gymnastics competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 23, 2008. REUTERS/Yves Herman (CHINA)

After spending weeks practicing our scissor skills to cut out the silhouette of an object using only negative space to reveal key details of the shape (this is very challenging, by the way), we later used line to create three trails of motion that might express the object’s movement through space. Sometimes, these lines were very literal, for example, foot prints are a direct result of an animals motion through mud. Other times, the lines were imagined, like the path a falling leaf might take or the slow growth or tree roots within the soil. The lines were elegant and expressive and are currently on display outside the art studio.

IMG_9269This artist uses the victims of a sinking ship jumping overboard to stretch the concepts of trailing motion.

IMG_9264This rocket demonstrates smoke, sparks and flames as three examples of lines that  might result from blastoff.

IMG_9267A cow with milk dripping from the utters and a crusty French baguette with a trail of crumbs! How clever!


This project was extended to allow students a chance to experience the artistic process of embossing into aluminum tooling metal. After looking at examples of traditional Mexican repujado carvings, as well as the elegant metal work of King Tut’s golden sarcophagus, we used bone tools, wooden stylus tools, and dull colored pencils to create deep impressions in metal to reveal textured trails of motion.



Students had to demonstrate a variety of lines and visual textures without relying on color to help express themselves when using this monochromatic color scheme. Physical and delicate work, young artists! Way to go!



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