Simple Parts – Part III – Communication through Drawings

Reflecting – Looking at Drawings from Part I

Task 1

Start with students back in groups from part 1. Return their drawings in the group folder from the first class. Have students take out just ONE drawing from their folder. Give students 3 minutes to try and re-create the shape from their drawings done during Part 1. If students are struggling, groups can then take out the rest of their Part 1 drawings to try to recreate their own. When finished, compare with the picture the teacher took previously.

Task 2

Groups look through their drawings and decide which one communicates the best. Give this drawing to another group, and have them try and re-create the shape.


Did the drawings communicate effectively? Were you able to re-create that shape from the drawing? Was the other group more or less successful than you?

[point out a drawing that by itself has some element of confusion preventing it from being re-created.]

Can the confusion be resolved by looking at others in the group? How are we stronger together?

[Point out those drawings that are unfinished, people who spent too much time on detail]

Recall, what was the purpose of doing the drawing? Art or Communication? Creating Instructions or Sharing Interpretations?

[Show some of teacher photos documented using iPad. Ask if they are better representation? Can THEY miss things too?]

Communicating through Drawings

Everyone needs a pencil and piece of paper (eg. graph paper, scrap paper). Divide groups into sets of partners, then partners separate, either to different rooms or on opposite sides of dividers so they can’t see what the other is doing.

In this activity, each partner does the same thing at the same time, so there is no one sitting idle. You must have a lot of material available, so that students are not held back by lack of material.

  1. Student A – Uses the materials to design/make a creature/object – strict 1 minute time limit, and no more than 5 pieces allowed to be used!
  2. Student A – Uses paper and pencil to communicate the design of their creature/object in writing – another 1 minute time limit [must be fast!]
  3. Student A trades their communication paper with their partner Student B (don’t let them see the original shape) and Student B has to MAKE it based solely on the drawing (no talking, hand signals, confirmation etc.)
  4. When finished (or when the time limit is up), partners come together to do a comparison of their original shapes and their copies. Student B’s creation that is based on the drawing is compared with the original creation by Student A.


How did they do in the time limit? (the goal here is to allow students to fail at the task if applicable, as many students will initially try to do artistic, realistic representations that take too long and since they are incomplete, cannot communicate the idea) (see Google Doc reflection homework assignment)

(IF TIME, do another round or two of steps 1-4, allowing students to re-iterate on their communication strategies. If necessary, reduce time limit or increase number of materials allowed)


With 20 minutes left in class, clean up and put away materials.

REFLECT: lead a class discussion on the activity (including connections to work in previous classes) – use a whiteboard (or computer/projector and something like Padlet) to record highlights of class discussion.

Can / did students come up with using symbols on their own? Or another strategy that makes it easier to have a common understanding? Lead into a discussion of 3 View (Orthographic) drawings, and the need for standards in order to communicate (eg. the value in using ISO date; road signs and driving on one side of the road, etc.)



Instead of working in partners, use groups.

Groups build shapes, make one drawing and then trade that communication with another group (while covering the original shape).

When groups are finished, they compare their creation based on the drawing with the original creation.


This would be an appropriate lead in for lessons/activities on Orthographics and other forms of Technical Drawings and 3D design.


Part I – Reiteration, Creativity, & Defining the Problem

Part II – Empathy & Communication

Part III – Communication through Drawings