Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

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Collaboration in the Visual Arts

James Doyle, Laura Halstied | Published: May 3rd, 2022 by K20 Center


In this lesson, students will analyze three pieces of art that were created collaboratively and then work in a small group to create a piece of art that is collaborative. Students will then gallery walk the created art pieces, leave feedback on each piece, and reflect on the process of creating a piece of art in a group.

Essential Question(s)

How does collaboration affect the creative process?



Students listen to "Old Town Road" and describe reasons why the song was popular across the world.


Students analyze three pieces of art and infer what might be the common element between them.


In groups, students discuss three pieces of art using the Jigsaw strategy.


In groups, students create a collaborative piece of art.


Students view the created art and provide feedback, then reflect on the process of creating art collaboratively.


  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Object Cards (attached; one set per class)

  • Jigsaw Readings (attached; one per group)

  • Reflection Questions handout (attached; one per student)

  • Object Text Cards (optional; attached; one per group)

  • Bluetooth speaker or other device for playing music

  • Projector or SMART board

  • Sticky notes (one per student plus one for each created art piece per group))

  • Markers, paint, colored pencils, or other art supplies

  • Large poster paper (one per group of three students)

  • Pencils or pens

  • Notebook paper

  • Card stock (optional)


5 Minute(s)

As class begins, have students take out a piece of notebook paper and a pen or pencil. Use the attached Lesson Slides to guide the lesson.

Display slide 3 and have students listen to the song "Old Town Road." Then, ask them to write down reasons why this song was so popular.


10 Minute(s)

Display slide 4 and have students view three pieces of art. As they view each piece, they should use their notebook paper to write down details about the art and anything they think is important about each piece.

Move to slide 5 and start the 1-minute timer embedded in the slide. (For slide 5, read the inscription on the piece to students. It is included in the notes section on the slide.) Ask students to use this time to write down their thoughts on each art piece. Repeat this process on slides 6–7, then move to slide 8.

Provide each student with a sticky note. Introduce students to the Commit and Toss strategy. Ask students to write on the sticky note what they think the three pieces of art have in common and then tell them to crumple up the sticky note into a ball. Collect the sticky notes in a waste basket or other container, then have students randomly select one note from the basket and read it aloud. As students read the notes, write the responses on the whiteboard and group together similar responses.

Transition through slides 9–10 and explain the essential question and lesson objectives. Explain to students that they will learn more about how art is created collaboratively during the lesson.


20 Minute(s)

Place students in groups of three. Display slide 11 and pass out the attached Jigsaw Readings handout to each group. Introduce students to the Jigsaw strategy.

Have students select and read one of the articles about the pieces of art. Each student in every group should select a different article. As they read, they should highlight or underline anything that they feel is important to understanding the creation of the art piece.

After students have read their article, have them to share with their group what they have learned about each piece of art. After providing time for groups to discuss, ask students if they can now identify what all of the art pieces have in common.

Have a class discussion about the ways in which different artists collaborated to make art and what the process for each pair of artists looked like.


30 Minute(s)

Distribute a piece of poster paper to each group. Display slide 12 and have each student draw a card from the attached Object Cards deck and then return to their groups. Instruct them not to share their card with anyone outside of their group.

Move to slide 13 and explain the activity to students. Students will choose one object card from the cards in their group to be the subject of their work of art. They should work collaboratively to recreate the object on the card. The creation of the object should be done without any speaking.

Have students take turns using their choice of medium such as charcoal, pastels, markers, colored pencils, or pens and draw the object on poster board. Instruct students to make only one line at time before switching to the next group member, and to repeat this until the art is complete.

Display the completed art pieces in the classroom.


20 Minute(s)

Display slide 14 and pass out sticky notes to each group. Each group needs a sticky note for each of the created art pieces. (e.g. If there are five total groups and five art pieces, each group will need four sticky notes).

Introduce students to the Gallery Walk strategy. Have students move around the classroom and view each of the collaborative art pieces. Ask each group work together to write a positive critique as well as their guess for what object each group recreated on the sticky note and attach it near the art. Have students repeat this process for all of the collaborative art pieces.

After students have viewed each piece of art, have students return to their seats and pass out the attached Reflection Questions handout. Move to slide 15 and provide time for students to respond to the reflection questions.

Have a class discussion about the challenges in creating collaborative art and what was learned from the experience. Collect the Reflection Questions handout to assess student understanding of the lesson.