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Study Art & Design in Key Stage 2

Julie St Clair Hoare By Julie St Clair Hoare

Get creative with Hamilton's hands-on art and design topic sessions for key stage 2.

The national curriculum for art and design aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences
  • become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques
  • evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design
  • know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.

Cross-curricular topics are a fantastic way to cover the art and design curriculum, allowing children to engage creatively with different areas of the curriculum at the same time. Music can complement painting. History can be enhanced by model making. Sculpture can elaborate geographical concepts.

Here are a few of our favourite art and design opportunities in KS2 topics:

Art and Design in Lower Key Stage 2 (Year 3 and Year 4)

In our Meet the Artists topic, Year 3 and Year 4 children meet some of the world’s most famous, influential and ground-breaking painters, sculptors, architects and designers.

  • Painters - Meet Frida Kahlo, L. S. Lowry and Joan Miró. Paint self-portraits, urban landscapes and abstract works under their influence.
  • Sculptors - Meet Joan Miró and Barbara Hepworth. Get a feel for the three-dimensional qualities of sculpture and work in the abstract modes of these two twentieth-century icons.
  • Architects - Meet Norman Foster, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. Understand and explore architectural ideas and design buildings!
  • Designers - Meet William Morris, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Vivienne Westwood. Practice design techniques, including symmetry, and design a wallpaper pattern, a chair and a jacket under their inspiration.

Explore Meet the Artists for LKS2.


In our Invaders and Settlers: Anglo-Saxons topic there are ample opportunities for exploring art and design, including:

  • Invasions - Design and make an Anglo-Saxon shield, study the Bayeux Tapestry and create embroidery.
  • Beliefs - Write using runes, colour in or design and colour creatures from the Lindisfarne Gospels or The Book of Kells.
  • Art and Culture - Learn about the cultural significance of storytelling, poetry, music, jewellery and feasting to the Anglo-Saxons. Make a replica piece of Anglo-Saxon jewellery.

Explore Invaders and Settlers: Anglo-Saxons for LKS2.


In our Mountains, Rivers and Coasts topic, Year 3 and Year 4 children learn what mountains, rivers and coasts are, some of the forces that help create and shape these important features, and the effects they have on the world around them. This topic contains lots of art and design focussed sessions, including:

  • The Journey of a River - Create a class collage to show the journey of a river.
  • River Art inspired by Monet - Consider light and colour in Monet’s River Thames series and how his new style gave rise to the term Impressionism. Learn about the life and work of this great artist and create river artworks.
  • Mountain Views - Develop analysis of art, make sketches and consider perspective and learn how to make a collagraph print. Learn about artists who choose to paint mountain landscapes and in particular, the Japanese artist Hakusai. Create your own prints of Mount Snowden.
  • Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside - Plan and paint an attractive rail poster to entice people to travel to Blackpool.

Explore Mountains, Rivers and Coasts for LKS2.


Art and Design in Upper Key Stage 2 (Year 5 and Year 6)

Create digital art in our Computational Thinking and Creativity topic. Year 5 and Year 6 children get to grips with creative software in the following sessions:

  • 3D Modelling - Find out about the online game of Minecraft and notice the amazing 3D modelling it contains. Identify 3D shapes used to create buildings and develop a 3D building using the software Sketchup.
  • Art Challenge - Meet David Hockney and explore his iPad art along with the work of digital landscape artist, Andy Maitland. Review painting apps and then choose one to create a digital landscape painting.

Explore Computational Thinking and Creativity for UKS2.


Explore Islamic art in our Early Islamic Civilisation topic. Year 5 and Year 6 children track the development of the great Islamic city of Baghdad including trading practices and everyday life. Learn about the spread of Islam through the Middle East and beyond and the legacy of and continuing influences of early Islam. There are lots of opportunities for art and design, including:

  • Trade and Travel - Make a close study of an Islamic artefact and translate this to a plan for a 3-D replica by sketching and then formalising a final design. Create chosen artefact and decorate. Evaluate against design criteria.
  • The Rise and Fall of Baghdad - Explore Islamic art, patterns and motifs and their relationship to maths. Translate knowledge of tessellating patterns to computing applications.
  • Scheherazade - Storyboard a new '1001 nights' story that incorporates authentic details of early Islamic civilisation, and then write and illustrate the story.
  • Legacy of Early Islam - Explore how the Islamic conquest of Central Asia spread the knowledge of paper-making. Discover how to make paper, pen and ink. Write and then decorate biographies in an Islamic style using homemade paper, pen and ink.

Explore Early Islamic Civilisation for UKS2.


Discover the geological beauty of the Grand Canyon. Year 5 and Year 6 children explore how the Colorado River, along with debris flows and weather, continue to shape the landscape. They create a piece of art that shows the topographic nature of the region. Meet the great photographer, Ansel Adams, and explore the geological and aesthetic beauty of his Grand Canyon shots. Create interpretations of his photographic art and set up a visitor’s centre.

Explore Comparing People and Places - The Grand Canyon for UKS2.

Head to France in our Modern Europe topic and discover the art of Cézanne, Seurat and Morisot and where their works are located geographically. Create a 21st-century soundscape, a pointillist style painting and an impasto painting.

Explore Modern Europe - France for LKS2.