Composition in Art Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teach your students about composition in art with this lesson plan. An anchor text lesson is used to guide students through understanding what composition is and identifying elements of composition, then explains principles of design. Apply learning to real-life work.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • describe the eight major elements of art composition
  • explain the principles of design in an art composition
  • analyze art using the eight major elements and principles of design


1 - 1.5 hours


Key Vocabulary

  • Elements of art
  • Line
  • Shape
  • Volume/mass
  • Color
  • Texture
  • Light
  • Space
  • Time
  • Principles of design
  • Repetition
  • Pattern
  • Rhythm
  • Balance
  • Scale
  • Emphasis
  • Contrast
  • Directional force
  • Unity

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.2

Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text's explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.4

Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.5

Analyze the structure of the relationships among concepts in a text, including relationships among key terms (e.g., force, friction, reaction force, energy).

Warm Up and Preparation

  • Display an image of a famous piece of art and give students five minutes to write down what they notice about the piece.
  • Have students share their answers with a partner before discussing together.
  • Now distribute the lesson Composition in Art: Definition & Elements and read the first section 'Composition in Art' together.
  • Define composition and ask:
    • Why can't we appreciate the meaning of art until we are able to examine and analyze composition?

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