DOT TO DOT – Exploring Pattern, Line and Dot

Students use washable project paint, brushes and cotton tips to explore dots, lines and patterns.

Required Time

60 Minutes

Grade Level

Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 3


Language Arts
Visual Arts


colour dot line pattern shape


Crayola Washable Project Paint - 6 Count Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm Crayola Paintbrushes - 5 Count Water Containers Paper Towels Cotton Tips Paper Plates for Palettes - 1 per student

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DOT TO DOT – Exploring Pattern, Line and Dot - Step One

Step One

  1. Arrange several colours of paint on your palette.
DOT TO DOT – Exploring Pattern, Line and Dot - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Explore mark making with different colours. 
  2. Use thick lines, thin lines and wavy lines. 
  3. Use big dots, small dots, 1/2 dots to create lines.
  4. Make up your own rules for different patterns and then make the patterns on your paper.
DOT TO DOT – Exploring Pattern, Line and Dot - Step Three

Step Three

  1. View your painting with fresh eyes.
    How did you use lines and dots.
    - What kinds of lines did you create? 
    - How did you change the size and direction of the lines and dots in your painting?
    - What are the rules for your patterns.

    What do you like best about your painting? Why?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create patterns using lines and dots;
  • use their imagination and problem-solving skills;
  • explore ideas using paints and mark making tools;
  • explain their process; 
  • express opinions about the works.


Have students:

  • look for other materials around the classroom they could use to paint with to create dots and lines;
  • use the materials to create new paintings;
  • compare the results;
  • Ask questions such as,
    How are the tools alike?
    - What do the tools do differently?
    - How are the lines different from each other? Why? 
    - What tools did you like working with? Why?
  • Share their work with others.



  1. Gather required art materials and set up a painting centre.
  2. Gather and make available a variety of books about patterns, such as, Spots and Dots, by Chez Picthall; Pattern Fish, by Trudy Harris; Pattern Bugs, by Trudy Harris; A-B-A-B-A A Book of Pattern Play, by Brian P. Cleary and The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds.
  3. Gather and make available a variety of books about Australian art, such as, Australian Aboriginal Painting, by J Isaacs; An Australian ABC of Animals, by Bronwyn Bancroft; An Australian 1,2,3 of Animals, by Bronwyn Bancroft; and Ready to Dream, by Donna Jo Napoli.
  4. Review the characteristics of Australian Aboriginal art.
  5. Download images of Australian Aboriginal Art from the Internet, for example,
    Art 1
    Art 2
    Art 3
  6. Set up the art materials. 


  1. Introduce the new painting centre. Talk about the materials at the centre and encourage students to explore mark making with the tools provided.
  2. Observe students while they are exploring and creating art. Ask questions such as,
    What are the rules for your pattern?
    How is painting with cotton tips different than painting with a brush?
    Which pattern stands out the most in your picture? What do you see that makes you say that?
  3. Once students have had some time to explore the new painting centre, have an open discussion with the class about their findings and experiences at the centre. 
  4. Introduce Australian Aboriginal Art. Show students some art images and guide them to see how the artists use lines and dots to communicate their ideas. Talk about the patterns created within the art.
  5. Encourage students to make connections among the art images and illustrations in the books and their own mark making.
  6. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Make a painting with lots of different lines and dots.
  2. Use your imagination to make your own patterns.
  3. Explain how your pattern works.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - created a painting with lots of dots and lines
    - used my own ideas to create the painting
    - used cotton tips and paintbrushes to make different sizes and shapes of lines and dots
    - created different patterns
    - explained the rules of my patterns

    - kept the paper in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan. 
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Gather students to share and discuss their paintings. Ask students to share:
    How they used different tools to create lines and dots.
    - What kinds of lines they created in their art.
    - How they created lines with dots.
    - The rules for their patterns.
  2. Display all the paintings in the classroom.
  3. Encourage students to view the paintings and notice how they are the same, and how they are different.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their paintings – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the painting, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Pattern_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have grade 1-3 students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - Pattern_self-assessment.pdf)