Unit Title: Geoscapes
Lesson 2: Using Value and Gradients to give Form to Geometric Shapes
This is the second lesson in a Unit Plan called “Geoscapes”. The purpose of this lesson for the computer is to acquaint students with Photoshop and Paint program tools that apply gradients of color and also stretching, skewing and changing the size of objects (geometric shapes). At the drawing table students are asked to blend values together while drawing a still-life using geometric shapes.

View how this lesson ties into the:

Creating and Performing Strand Learning Standard 2 Grades 5-8
Creating and Performing Strand Learning Standard 2 Grades 9-10
Creating and Performing Strand Learning Standard 2 Grades 11-12
Connecting and Contributing Strand Learning Standard 7 Grades 5-8
Connecting and Contributing Strand Learning Standard 7 Grades 9-10
Grade Level:

Grades 7-12
  • Learn about different tools on the computer while learning about value and form.
  • Begin to use creative expression in their choice of and placement of the geometric shapes
  • Experiment with drawing shapes with the mouse
  • Learn how to blend the values together to create form
  • Plan a pleasing still-life with Geometric Shape
  • Help students gain an understanding of value,shape, and form.

This project takes approx. 40 minutes on computer and 40 minutes at the drawing table.

Students will use the Knowledge that they gained in Lesson 1 , to create a still-life with Geometric Shape in preparation for the final lesson "Geoscapes"

A Still-life set up with various geometric shapes, such as cones, cubes, spheres and cylinders. ( I use all white objects such as: Styrofoam cones and balls, soup cans spray painted white and white gift boxes).

On the Computer:
A Computer with geometric shapes scanned in, a paint program that allows the manipulation of objects as well as the ability to apply gradient scale, or photoshop, a mouse , printer ,etc.

Drawing Table:
White Drawing paper , Pencils, Erasers, Rulers and Triangles


  1. Show students how to access the scanned image of Geometric Shapes and explain the location and use of the required program tools.
  2. On the scanned image have students practice using gradient scale and changing the size and location of the shapes.
  3. This is a good opportunity for students to experiment with drawing the shapes using a mouse and some of the line tools and circle tools.
  4. When they feel secure with this process they should open a blank page within the program and cut and paste and repeat various shapes in a pleasing arrangement. Have students place objects in front of and behind each other (using the still-life set up in the classroom as a guide).
  5. Students should choose the direction of their light source and use the gradient tool to add value and form to the shapes. Use the scanned image practice page for reference.
  6. Save the new work and restore the original scanned image for the next student.

At the Drawing Table:
  1. Students should choose an area of the still-life or create their own and transfer (draw) the arrangement on the drawing paper, remembering to have objects in front of and behind each other.
  2. Showing the students how to use one point perspective, a horizon line and an eye point is helpful for those who have trouble drawing the cubes and rectangular boxes.


Some students grasped both concepts well, while others were stronger in one area than another. I did find this lesson an effective teaching tool for the next lesson. Many students were impressed by their ability to do the project and happy with the results.

In a classroom where there are a limited number of computer workstations, students can be working on both aspects of the lesson, taking turns on the computer at the drawing table.
Special Considerations:

Extensive preparation time to explain the workings of the computer program and the tools may be necessary for some students.
Author: Denise Taglienti