Visual arts levels 5 and 6

Lesson overview - planning an artwork

This lesson is part of a Level 5 and 6 Visual Arts unit on understanding how personality and identity is expressed through printmaking. The work of artist Ah Xian is explored.

Victorian Curriculum

Levels 5 and 6

Explore visual arts practices as inspiration to create artworks that express different ideas and beliefs (VCAVAE029).

Learning intention

We are brainstorming and recording ideas for an artwork.

Success criteria

I can use a mind-map to brainstorm and record ideas for my artwork.

Extension ideas

Extend the success criteria (outcome): I can use a mind-map to brainstorm and record ideas for my artwork. I can compare and evaluate different techniques, and justify the use of images, patterns and symbols in my artwork.

Lesson sequence

Warm up activity

In this activity, students will draw on their prior learning from the previous lesson:

  • Introduce the inquiry question 'If Ah Xian were to create a portrait of you, what would it look like?'
  • Think-pair-share: Discuss what 'personality' and 'identity' are. Prompts include:
  • Think about your cultural heritage or cultural background and describe its characteristics. What are the obvious things that show your culture?
  • Are you a quiet person who enjoys reading or are you an active person who enjoys running around outside?
  • Student pairs report back to the class and a co-constructed understanding of the two terms is developed.

Extension ideas

Pair high-ability students together.

Ah Xian: personality and identity

Have a number of different artworks available for students to look at:

  • Place students into small groups and have each group select an artwork to focus on
  • Have students discuss personality and identity as they link to Ah Xian's work. They can answer the questions: What are some of the images, patterns and symbols Ah Xian uses in this artwork to represent identity? How could you use similar ideas?
  • Have groups report back on their task. Co-construct a list of images, patterns and symbols.

Extension ideas

High-ability students could:

  • be grouped together for this task.
  • locate their own artworks to be analysed.
  • be asked to analyse more than one artwork.
  • be asked to compare and evaluate the images, patterns and symbols used by Ah Xian across different artworks.

Mind mapping

Demonstrate a worked example of a mind map for students.

  • Students create their own mind map that expresses their personality and identity. They include thumbnail sketches of patterns, symbols, and images to help explain their thinking.

Extension ideas

High-ability students could:

  • be given a more complex worked example to look at.
  • work on this task independently and then share their ideas with other high-ability students.
  • be asked to annotate their mind map to justify their use of images, patterns, and symbols.
  • be asked to explain what their mind map does not reveal about themselves, and the impact this may have on an audience.


This lesson plan is adapted from the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority's unit 'Expressing personality and identity through printmaking'.