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Ruben Moreno


Ruben Moreno's Geo-Vistas activity is an excellent way to encourage students' creativity. The project allows children to become descriptive and expressive as they demonstrate a rich sense of inner relationships through art. "Geo-Vistas" also encourages students to think and work in divergent ways and challenges them to express their information or story visually and to relate the two different parts of their story-the inside and the outside.

Lesson Focus

Creating a geometric cardboard sculpture covered with personal drawings.

Time Requirement

The entire Geo-Vistas activity, including construction and assembly, requires approximately two 45-minute class periods. (The time may vary based on the children's ages and abilities.)

Skill Development

This activity lets children practice isolating different sections of their artwork and creating structure and sequence within a visual storyline. It also fosters spatial engineering and construction skills by allowing children to work with balance and angles to put their final piece together. In the process, children develop their ability to manipulate and assemble two- and three-dimensional art pieces.


Geo-Vistas allows students to:

  • freely explore organic and geometric shapes in a sculptural manner.
  • explore and compare observations of two favorite and familiar places (one inside and the other outside) that children frequently see or visit.
  • take a closer look at favorite inside places, such as bedrooms where they play and sleep, and at favorite outside places, such as the park, woods, or yard where they play.
  • observe and communicate visually complex things they see (such as rooms and settings), letting them isolate and break down the separate elements within spaces.

Related Artists/Architects/Art Works/Buildings

  • Antonio Gaudi
  • Piet Mondrian
  • Henry Moore
  • Louise Nevelson
  • pyramids
  • David Smith
  • Frank Lloyd Wright

Connections to Educational Standards

Geo-Vistas connects to the following Kentucky Academic Expectations:

  • 1.13: Students make sense of ideas and communicate with the visual arts.
  • 2.22: Students create works of art and make presentations to convey a point of view.
  • 2.26: Through the arts and humanities, students recognize that although people are different, they share some common experiences and attitudes.
  • 5.2: Students use creative thinking skills to develop or invent novel, constructive ideas or products.

Materials Needed

  • mat board precut into simple geometric shapes-squares, rectangles, and triangles of varying sizes (Provide a square, a triangle, and a rectangle plus two more different shapes-a smaller square and a differently shaped triangle, for example-per child. Other geometric figures like ovals, circles, hexagons, octagons, etc. are also possibilities, but these can be more difficult to cut out and to glue together.)
  • crayons
  • graphite pencils
  • colored pencils
  • markers
  • cool glue guns (as opposed to hot) for final construction and assembly (Younger students will require adult assistance, and all students will need supervision.)

Alternative Materials and Construction Methods

  • mat board: any flat, stiff, two-dimensional surface that can be drawn on. It could be poster board, cardboard, note cards, or even thin pieces of wood.
  • gluing: Notching the shapes so they can be fitted together is a possible alternative to using glue guns. You can also use Elmer's glue or other liquid glue, but you must figure out a way to hold the sculptures together while the glue dries. One method is inserting straight pins at the junctures between pieces; another is wrapping rubber bands around the sculptures.

Vocabulary Used in the Lesson

  1. organic: the opposite of mechanical or geometric. Free-form, or derived from nature.
  2. Geometric:
  3. negative space: the area around images in a two- or three-dimensional form which defines those objects.
  4. positive space: the primary images in a work of art, as opposed to the background or unoccupied space.
  5. rectangle: a quadrilateral that contains four right angles.
  6. square: a quadrilateral that contains four right angles and has four equal sides.
  7. triangle
  8. oval
  9. hexagon: a polygon with six sides.
  10. octagon: a polygon with eight sides.
  11. polygon: a simple closed shape, bounded by line segments.

Lesson Instructions

Guide students through the following process:

  1. Choose two favorite places, one inside such as your bedroom-where you do lots of things like dream, sleep, play, and do homework-and one outside where you like to play-the yard, woods, park, etc.
  2. Begin with the largest piece of mat board (usually a square or a rectangle). Draw and color one entire side of the piece with an inside scene of your bedroom or other inside place. Feel free to use lots of colors.
  3. Turn the piece over to make a new drawing-this one of your favorite outdoor area. Include enough visual clues in your picture so a person could find the places in your pictures as you explain them.
  4. Once you've completed both sides of your piece, stop and look at your inside picture. Find an object you like-a TV, for example. Now take a second, different shape and show more about that part of your picture. For instance, take your TV and show me what you're watching or what's on the screen.
  5. On the other side of the second shape, make a detailed drawing of one part of your outside scene. For example, take the tree you drew and show who lives inside the tree and what the tree dweller is doing.
  6. If time allows, choose another object from your original pictures of your inside and outside places. Make a detailed drawing of the objects on opposite sides of a third mat shape. If possible, continue this process, drawing on a minimum of two more shapes (for a total of five different shapes).
  7. Determine a way to put your mat pieces together to create a three-dimensional sculpture. Think about the story you're telling, the relationship between the drawings, and the stability and visual design of your structure. Use the glue gun to glue the mat pieces into the structure you've chosen (or have an adult help you to assemble the structure).

Response to Art

Interview students about their shape pictures-what they made and why-or have them share this information with classmates.

Exhibition Suggestion

Exhibiting sculptures is always a challenge. You need lots of space, and you need a display area that allows people to see all sides of the sculpture (like a table in the middle of a room). Plus, the Geo-Vistas sculptures are easily broken if people knock into them. If you do not have a suitable space for exhibiting all your students' sculptures, you might consider exhibiting a few at a time and then rotating the display until everyone's sculpture has been exhibited.

Another idea is to videotape the students holding the sculptures and explaining what they represent. You can get close-up angles on the sculptures and have the students rotate them so the camera can see all sides. You can also take snapshots of the sculptures. Get at least three different angles for each piece, and photograph them against a dark background and surface so you will have enough contrast. Students as well as teachers could be involved in the videotaping and photography process. The photographs or videos can be presented at parents' night or at other gatherings.


Have your students title their sculpture pieces and write creative stories that involve their artwork. Students could also do a similar project using organic or free-form shapes.

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Last Updated: Monday, 29-Dec-2008 15:23:24 EST