Artlook DIY Stages 1-3 Teacher Notes

Artlook is an exciting Visual Arts program which can also spark learning relevant to the Science & Technology syllabus. In these self-guided sessions, students will investigate and draw the shapes and patterns of natural history objects or objects of Indigenous culture within the Museum. They will engage with the Museum collections in the way that a professional artist might – collecting information from it and making artworks in response to it. As they do, they will develop their powers of observation, their drawing skills, and knowledge of the object/s that they have drawn.


Before your visit

Syllabus links

Visual Arts (Making)
  • VAS1.1Makes artworks in a particular way about experiences of real & imaginary things.
  • VAS2.1 Represents the qualities of experiences and things that are interesting or beautiful by choosing among aspects of subject matter.
  • VAS3.1 Investigates subject matter in an attempt to represent likenesses of things in the world.
Visual Arts (Appreciating)
  • VAS1.3 Realises what artists do, who they are and what they make.
  • VAS2.3 Acknowledges that artists make artworks for different reasons and that various interpretations are possible.
  • VAS3.3 Acknowledges that audiences respond in different ways to artworks and that there are different opinions about the value of artworks
 Visual Arts (Appreciating)
  •  VAS1.4 Begins to interpret the meaning of artworks, acknowledging the roles of artist and audience
  • VAS2.5 Communicates about the ways in which subject matter is represented in artworks
  • VAS2.4 Identifies connections between subject matter in artworks and what they refer to, and appreciates the use of particular techniques
Science & Technology
  • INVS1.7 Conducts guided investigations by observing, questioning, predicting, collecting and recording data, and suggesting possible explanations.
  • INVS2.7 Conducts investigations by observing, questioning, predicting, testing, collecting, recording and analysing data, and drawing conclusions.
  • INVS3.8 Conducts their own investigations and makes judgements based on the results of observing, questioning, planning, predicting, testing, collecting, recording and analysing data, and drawing conclusions.
Pre-visit Activities

To make the most of your Artlook experience at the Museum, we recommend that you promote your students’ observation skills with:

  • Observational games. For example, have students look at objects for 10 seconds, and then, after the object has been removed from sight, describe the object in words.
  • Observational drawing games. For example, have students sit in pairs, back-to-back; while one student of every pair describes the features of an object in their hands, the other student should draw that object. Encourage the student describing the object to be very specific, including details like length, shape and size.

Teachers with a preference for a representational approach may also wish to discuss measurement and its use in scale drawing.


Please photocopy the student activity sheet for your class.
We recommend that you read and discuss the activities outlined on this sheet in some detail, prior to your visit.
The following materials should be photocopied for each supervising adult:

At the Australian Museum

On site activities: Artlook D.I.Y.
  • Using a photocopy of the activity sheet provided, students will make drawings in an exhibition or exhibitions. They will be guided by teaching points on the activity sheet on line, shape and pattern.
  • These drawings could be a starting point for a design project (or projects) that could be undertaken later, at school or home. The activity sheet encourages students to apply their drawings to a design brief, and provides some example briefs.
Organisation of the day
  • One hour is the suggested duration for D.I.Y. self-guided sessions.
  • We advise you to begin the D.I.Y. activity by addressing the students’ together. Then have the students disperse in pairs or threes throughout the Museum, after setting a time and place to meet again as a group.

Post-visit activities

Some post-visit activities outlined on the ‘DIY’ Activity Sheet are the design of a:

  • Printed T-shirt or bag
  • Poster

Other activities that use the drawings done at the Museum as a starting point are:

  • Review the drawings and photographs collected from the Museum when back at school – discuss the choices made and features of the drawings.
  • Enhance the research drawings and artworks for display at school.
  • Visit an artist’s studio and talk to them about what makes them want to make artworks.
  • Recycling Box creations – visit a place such as a reverse garbage depot and use some selected items to create a group artwork from your time at the Australian Museum, for example a mural that incorporates small sections from each student’s personal focus on the visit.
  • Discuss how drawing an object increases your understanding of it, and how drawings distributed (eg in books) might increase a community’s understanding of what is drawn.
  • Research any animals that were drawn, to discover the function of the animal part/s that were drawn. Then have students suggest how the structure of the parts might facilitate that function. (Science & Technology, LTS2.3)
  • Research any rocks and minerals that were drawn and investigate how their structure might relate to the way that they have been formed.(Science& Technology,ESS3.6)
  • Investigate the function and significance of Indigenous objects drawn and then have students suggest how the structure of the object might facilitate its function.  

Ms Helen Wheeler , Learning Services Operations Manager
Last Updated:

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