Lesson #2: Conceptual design: brainstorming with word webs and thumbnails


Students will be able to:
Identify the main idea and generate alternative themes using the word web graphic organizers, as a class and individually.
Illustrate a specific Planet Earth issue.
Design sketchbooks, pencils, chart paper
Review by displaying poster reproductions. (See materials list)Select one poster.
  • What is the message of this poster?
  • Is the message primarily visual, textual, or both? Explain.
  • How can we brainstorm design ideas for our posters?
During our last lesson, we came up with several ideas relating to Planet Earth. We're going to continue our brainstorming, but in a new way. ( Show a word web.)
  • What is this called? What is its purpose?
Use the word web to brainstorm ideas for our design problem regarding Planet Earth.
We will need visual images for our posters.
  • What do the words we've listed look like?
Pick one word and ask students to suggest an image for it. Demonstrate how to make a simple image to suggest that word.
  • Why do you think I have eliminated details from this image?
Select five words, and in your sketchbooks make five simple images that look like that word. Ask for a few volunteers to come to the board and sketch their ideas under the word on the board or on chart paper.
Decide on which aspect of Planet Earth you want to focus on in your poster. Identify a word or phrase (max 4 words) that will communicate your idea to the viewer. In your sketchbook use the same word association technique to brainstorm ideas/imagery for this phrase. Make small thumbnail sketches from the words/phrases in the word web exercise.
Explain that people who work in design firms often share their work with their colleagues. Direct students to "turn and talk" with a partner to share suggestions for improving their images.
The teacher assigns a different question per group of students to be researched and recorded in their sketchbooks in the classroom, library, or on the internet. These questions should be inspired by the previous lesson. Sample Questions:
  • Define biomes. Are there any biomes in danger? (i.e. tropical rain forests/Amazon, wetlands/everglades)
  • Define extinction. What animals or plants are in danger of extinction?
  • Define global warming. How can we help reduce the effects of global warming? What are we doing about global warming? What are greenhouse gases?
  • Define recyling. How do you make things green?
  • Define safe drinking water. Are there any campaigns for the promotion of safe drinking water?
Make a visual dictionary of the ideas/answers you find. (i.e. Kids Do Ecology Website and other websites) http://www.nceas.ucsb.edu/nceas-web/kids/ Students make a visual dictionary of imagery they see while researching.