DOT TO DOT – Exploring Pattern, Line and Dot

Students use tempera paint and cotton tips to explore pattern.

Required Time

60 Minutes

Grade Level

Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 1


Art Techniques
Visual Arts


colour dot line pattern shape


Cotton Tips Tempera Paint Paper

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

Step One

Set up the painting centre with paint, paper and cotton tips. 

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

Step Two

Explore mark making with different colours. Use thick lines, thin lines and wavy lines. Use big dots, small dots, 1/2 dots to create lines. 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

Lay the painting flat to dry.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Create patterns using lines and dots;
  2. Use their imagination and problem-solving skills;
  3. Explore ideas using paints and mark making tools;
  4. Explain their process; and
  5. Express opinions about the works.


  1. Have students look for other materials around the classroom they could use to paint with to create dots and lines.
  2. Encourage them to use the materials to create new paintings and compare the results.
  3. 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?



  1. Gather required art materials and set up a painting centre.
  2. Gather 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 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. Download images of Australian Aboriginal Art from the Internet, for example,
    Art 1
    Art 2
    Art 3
    Art 4
  5. Set up the art materials. 
  6. Place the books out for easy access.


  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. Guide students through the steps outlined in the lesson plan.
  2. Observe students as they work.
  3. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Gather students to share and discuss their art. Ask students to share:
    How they used 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. 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 the art works – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Download - PATTERN_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have grade 1 students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Download - PATTERN_self-assessment.pdf)