Tamara Hardy
Art and Architecture, Visual Art, Career and Technical Education
Material Type:
Middle School
  • Elements of Design
  • Filmmaking
  • Interior Design
  • Lesson Plan
  • Principles of Design
  • Rhythm
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    A Principle of Design: Rhythm Lesson Plan

    A Principle of Design: Rhythm Lesson Plan


    This lesson plan uses filmmaking to teach and reinforce the concept of rhythm, which is one of the Principles of Design.  You could easily substitute one of the other Principles or Elements of Design instead of concentrating on rhythm. Although this lesson was created for an Interior Design class, it could also be used in an art or clothing class, or adapted for other content areas.

    Thumnail image - "A Principle of Design: Rhythm," created by Tamara Hardy


    This lesson plan uses filmmaking to teach and reinforce the concept of rhythm, which is one of the Principles of Design.  You could easily substitute one of the other Principles or Elements of Design instead of concentrating on rhythm. Although this lesson was created for an Interior Design class, it could also be used in an art or clothing class.

    • Interior Design 1 - STRAND 5, Standard 1D - Identify examples of rhythm.
    • Time frame - 5-6 (80 minute) class periods.
    • Format - This would work best in a face-to-face class if students are working in teams, but it could also be taught virtually.
    • Author - Tamara Hardy


    Background for Teachers


    • To teach this lesson, you will need an understanding of rhythm (information from the Interior Design 1 Strands & Standards):
      • Rhythm is a continuous movement, the path the eye follows.
      • Rhythm can be created in five ways: repetition, gradation, radiation, opposition, transition.
      • Repetition - shapes, forms, lines or colors that are repeated in a design.
      • Gradation - sizes of shapes go from large to small or color values go from light to dark.
      • Radiation - objects radiate out in nearly every direction from a central point.
      • Opposition - abrupt change in any of the elements
      • Transition - a subtle, visual flow often indicated by a cureved line that leads the eye from one point or area to another.
    • You will also need to be familiar with the apps that you'd like your students to use for their filmmaking, such as StopMotion Studio (for animation films), or iMovie, etc.
    • The following resources can help you teach this topic:
    • There are several great resources in Utah's Online Library.  Here are a few to get you started. (Log in with your MyUEN credentials):
      • Access to iPads or other devices for capturing stop-motion animation.
      • Tri-pods (or supplies to make them - see the DIY video included in this lesson)
      • Lightbox (optional, but very helpful), or lamps to help with lighting as needed
      • Construction paper
      • Scissors
      • Markers, colored pencils, crayons (optional)
      • Glue (optional)
      • Clay (if doing claymation video)
      • Optional: a variety of small items that could be used in the stop-motion animation film (candy, buttons, pennies, paper clips, chenille stems, craft sticks, twigs, leaves, game pieces, etc.)

    Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes


    Learning Intentions:

    • Interior Design 1 - STRAND 5, Standard 1D - Identify examples of rhythm.
    • Students will be able to explain the definition of rhythm, and list five ways that it can be created.
    • Students will develop digital literacy skills as they create a film about rhythm.
    • Students will practice collaboration skills as they work with their team to create a film.

    Success Criteria:

    • Students will prepare a script and storyboard with their team.
    • Students will create a 1-2 minute film about rhythm in interior design.

    Step 2 - Planning Instruction


    Student Background Knowledge

    • Students should have basic computer skills.
    • Prior to this lesson, students will need to have an understanding of the Elements and Principles of Design.

    Strategies for Diverse Learners

    The following activities may be helpful to review prior to introducing the filmmaking project to your class:

    Guided Notes: Students will take guided notes (see attached "Guided Notes - Rhythm Booklet").  On the first page, add the title ("Rhythm"), and the definition.  (See Background Information in this lesson for this information).  The other five pages will provide space for students to write the definitions and examples of the five types of rhythm.

      Give students a picture of a room, and have them circle where they find each type of rhythm.  They can use colored pencils, and use a different color for each type of rhythm they find.  Check for understanding.  Another way to do this activity is to upload a photo of a room to Educreations (  Students can create a screencast that will let them describe the types of rhythm they see in the room, and they can also circle the types of rhythm while they are talking about them.

      Photo Scavenger Hunt:  Students will go on a "scavenger hunt" to find each type of rhythm.  They may search the internet, magazines, or use an iPad or cell phone to take their own photos.  If they use photos from the internet, students should check copyright and make sure the photos are free to use (see Creative Commons, Wikimedia, etc.).  They will also need to cite their sources.  They can add these pictures to the "Rhythm in Interior Design" page, and share their findings with either the whole class or in small groups.

      The following links to UEN FCS ListServ File Cabinet Lessons may be helpful:

      Step 3 - Instruction


      Day 1:  Introduce the filmmaking project.  We will focus on stop-motion animation in this lesson.  Show the videos about stop-motion animation films.  Then divide students into small groups.  Let them brainstorm ideas for making a 1-2 minute film.  The suggested topic is Rhythm (a Principle of Interior Design), but each team could create a film about one of the other Elements and Principles of Design.  

      "Animation is a method in which figures are manipulated to appear as moving images. In traditional animation, images are drawn or painted by hand on transparent celluloid sheets to be photographed and exhibited on film. Today, most animations are made with computer-generated imagery." Wikipedia

      What is Stop Motion Animation and How Does It Work?

      How to Make Stop Motion Videos

      Animation Basics: Homemade Special Effects - TED-Ed

      3 DIY Phone Tripods

      Discuss the best practices for making an animation film.  (See information in the Background section). Students will film in Landscape mode, use appropriate lighting, and will need to have about 7-10 frames per second for their animation film.

      Day 2: Scripts and Storyboards

      View the following videos to learn about writing a script and storyboard:

      Scriptwriting (AFI's Lights, Camera, Education!)

      Storyboarding (AFI's Lights, Camera, Education!)

      Toy Story - Storyboarding

      Students will collaborate as they write a script and storyboard for their film.  They can make their storyboard and script in Google Slides.  Here is a link to an example storyboard page. File: Storyboard

      Day 3:  Students will film their projects.  Remind them to shoot the video in Landscape for the best results.

      Students can use a stop-motion animation app (such as Stop Motion Studio), or create images on Google Slides, and then make them "appear to move" using Screencastify or another screencast app (see Background section).

      Stop Motion Studio app (Students can view tutorials in the app).

      Day 4: Editing (Stop Motion Studio has a tutorial about this in the app).  Add audio to the film (voice or music, etc.).  The Stop Motion Studio app comes with music files that can be used, or you can import music files.  Soundzabound is a great option for finding music that is free to use.  See information in this lesson about Soundzabound (found in Utah's Online Library).

      Review expectations for digital citizenship.  Students should give proper attribution for any information and media that they use (photos, music, etc.).  Students can find resources that are in the public domain, or that are free to use in Creative Commons, Wikimedia, Soundzabound, etc.  Make sure to check and follow the copyright rules.  Proper citations should be listed in the credits.

      Day 5: Continue editing.  Save finished films in your Google account.  Then click "Share" and make sure the settings are set to "anyone with the link can view."  Students can submit this link in a Canvas assignment.

      Day 6: Celebrate student films with a Classroom "Film Festival."  To make this event run more smoothly, create a Google File folder ahead of time where students will submit their films.  Then you can make a Google Slides presentation, with a separate slide for each film.  The links to the films can be placed on the slides.  That will make it easier to access films on the day of the festival.

      Step 4 - Assessments


      Students will be assessed on the following:

      Script & Storyboard Assignment (see attached rubric).

      Filmmaking (see attached rubric).

      Student films will be celebrated during the classroom film festival.