Lesson Idea

Form / Composition / Built Environment / Mood

How can students learn to construct a mood/story about a chosen environment?

I imagine that this lesson could be adapted for secondary three students, and further differentiated depending on their prior knowledge and experiences. This lesson unit will likely stretch over a term, and include teacher demonstrations, lots of independent student work around their chosen built environment, research, and discussions.


Students will:

  • Research and collect images about a chosen built environment – found images from magazines, books, internet and self-taken photographs
  • Compare the difference in mood between types of images and discuss the formal qualities that lead to our impression of these differences.
  • Categorise types of moods – with words or short phrases (e.g. uncanny, eerie, sunshine Sunday)

(extension) Respond by discussing the works of Nguan (“Singapore” from http://nguan.tv/singapore.htm) and Chua Chye Teck

(“Nothing” from http://chuachyeteck.com/Nothing.php) and Maya Deren’s “Meshes of the Afternoon”

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSY0TA-ttMA) with the use of thinking routines from “Let’s Talk About Art”

  • Sketch and depict textured objects from observation
  • Discuss and experiment with ways of creating mood by considering composition (emphasis balance, rhythm, close-ups, etc), colour
  • (temperature), textures, lighting, exposure durations, post-production filters.
  • Discuss and experiment with the sounds that gives listeners an impression of the built environment.

Create a photobook or video of these shots to depict the built environment.

Experiment with different ways of presenting the photobook (e.g. photo essay, collage, installation) or video (e.g. projecting over objects or parts of a room)

Elegant art task

Create a photobook or video art that personifies a chosen environment.


Camera, lens kit, photo printer, video editor (e.g. Adobe Premiere), sound recorder, paper for photobook.

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