BRITISH GALLERIES TEACHERS' RESOURCE About ActivityView WorksheetView Supporting Info

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In this activity, pupils will learn how artists and designers often use ideas from the natural world to create their designs. The task for pupils is to choose one design and use it to decorate a simple object. They will use their visit to the Museum to gather examples of designs based on nature from the British Galleries.


Art and Design
Exploring and developing ideas
'Record from first-hand observation'
Investigating and making
'Try out tools and techniques'
QCA links
'Mother Nature, Designer'


Here you will find some ideas to help you prepare yourself and your pupils for a visit to the British Galleries.


We strongly recommend that you visit the Museum prior to bringing your class. This will give you a much clearer idea of how you can use the galleries. We suggest that you familiarise yourself with the spaces in the British Galleries and the route to them from the Exhibition Road entrance. Spend some time researching designs based on nature. Examples can be found throughout the British Galleries. In particular, look at the 'Style' displays. You could also explore some of the gallery interactives. These have not been designed for use by school groups but you might find them useful for supporting information. The Style Guide interactive is particularly useful for this topic as it focuses on motifs characteristic of styles. Some of these come from the natural world.

Decide how long you are going to spend in the Museum and which galleries you are going to use. This activity is based on the British Galleries and the Museum task has been designed to take half a day. There are other galleries that you might want to visit if you have more time. For a list of other galleries, to find out more about relevant objects and to view some images see supporting information.


Ask pupils to bring in (or provide yourself) examples of natural objects, both real (e.g. plants, flowers, leaves etc.) and examples they find in books or magazines. Pupils could then make drawings of these objects, including as much detail as possible. Discuss the lines and shapes that appear in the pupils' drawings. Identify the different features.


The task for pupils is to gather examples of designs based on nature.

Divide pupils into small groups and brief any parent helpers on the task that pupils will be carrying out in the Museum. They will explore the British Galleries to find examples of designs based on the natural world and will record the designs through drawing.

Use the worksheet available on this site to help. You could ask pupils to focus on different aspects of nature e.g. animal, vegetable or mineral. They could look for designs based on some of the natural objects they gathered in the classroom. Pupils could also think about how the designs were made and what material was used.


Pupils should choose one or other of their drawings to use as a starting point for decorating a simple object, e.g. a plate or a glass. Ask pupils to think about how they can adapt their drawing to suit the object.

Pupils could also use their Museum drawing as the basis for producing individual paintings or a mixed media collage as a whole class.


We are keen to get your feedback on this activity as well as any suggestions for other ways of using the British Galleries. Use the online evaluation form here

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Programmes of work | Design a worksheet | Tell us what you think | How to book | British Galleries Website