Explain and draw

Irene Strong A6XhSbJuLXk Unsplash

Group your students into pairs of two and have them sit at a desk across from each other with a “wall” (e.g. a large book, a laptop or something similar) between them.

One student is given a blank piece of paper and a pen. The other student is given an image.

The student with the picture now has to describe the elements of the picture to their partner, so that they can draw a similar picture on the blank piece of paper without having seen the original.

Both students are allowed to talk, and the student drawing the picture is allowed to ask questions for clarification. Neither student is allowed to show their picture until after the exercise.

The activity is timed, and after the time is up, the students compare the original with the replica.

The students switch roles and redo the exercise with a new picture.

Tips and pointers:

  • You should time the activity to encourage urgency. 10-15 minutes work well.
  • Giving the students a very elaborate picture (for example a renaissance painting) to replicate, will give them the option to either spend the time going into detail or getting as many key elements onto paper.
  • Unless you want to practice colors, a pencil or pen will do – keep it simple.
  • Good for practicing prepositions, shapes and directions in foreign language classes.
  • Works as an ice breaker.
  • Remind the students that this activity is about teamwork and communication – not art skills.