Learning About Identity Through Art and Self Portraits – An Art Lesson Plan for F-2

Summary of Lesson Plan:

In this lesson plan, students learn to understand who they are in terms of identity and begin to understand how history can affect their identity. They also learn about common characteristics of Aboriginal artwork and its different interpretations, as well as attempting to draw human characteristics or faces.

Australian Curriculum Links:

Foundation to Year 2 – Visual Art:

  • Respond to visual artworks and consider where and why people make visual artworks, starting with visual artworks from Australia, including visual artworks of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (ACAVAR109)
  • Create and display artworks to communicate ideas to an audience (ACAVAM108)
  • Use and experiment with different materials, techniques, technologies and processes to make artworks (ACAVAM107)
  • xplore ideas, experiences, observations and imagination to create visual artworks and design, including considering ideas in artworks by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists (ACAVAM106)

Lesson Plan Sequence:


Discuss with students what the term ‘identity’ means. Talk to students about what makes up your identity i.e. hair colour? Likes, dislikes? Personality? Gender? And other topics developing into a class discussion. Ask students how they can tell the difference between two people? The clothes they wear. Age? Face! Everyone has a different face. Discuss with students how a lot of our identity can be found in our faces. Eye colour. Ask students who has blue eyes brown? Etc. Move on to talk about other facial characteristics. Such as hair colour hairstyle etc. Put up photos of traditional Aboriginal artwork on board and briefly discuss how our heritage or past can affect our identity.


Guided Discovery

Students are given a worksheet to fill in which characterises their personal identity. The worksheet is to show that we have differences between each other but we still are the same for example student A may have two brothers the same as student B. but they have different eye colour. If not enough time depending on length of lesson skip this step and enter data directly. Bring students to floor and ask for their results. Using an excel program show the students how many in their class had the same answers as them.


Now that we all understand, what identity is we can move on to the concept that a lot of identity comes from what people see. To draw a picture of someone we need to get the details right for example if Student A has green eyes then we should draw them with green eyes. Students are given a piece of paper to draw with and then either using photos or mirrors draw themselves on paper. (if not practical get students to draw one another).


Students who finish quickly can be asked how they think their background or family’s background influences them today and be asked to draw that around their portrait to show their past. Discuss with them their families’ history etc.


Students are to return with artworks (if possible) and talk about their drawings. Ask the students questions such as does this drawing look like you. Why? Why not? Common answers will be no because I can’t draw that good. Respond in saying that does the person in the drawing have the same characteristics as you; does he have blue eyes like you? This should allow students to feel more confident about their artistic abilities.


  • Testing to see if students can identify their own or others’ characteristics
  • Analysis of their work sample or a summative  assessment whilst making tables on excel
  • Observational anecdotes as the students draw their artworks


  • Computer with excel programming and projector or smart board so students can see visually their results (if not possible can be achieved through posters etc.
  • Paper\Drawing instruments
  • Photos or mirrors (only if practical lesson does not require need of objects)
  • Identity Worksheet – Characteristics of Individuals (DOC)




If you like this lesson plan, or have an idea to improve it, please consider sharing it on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook or leave a comment below.


Feature image source: http://www.mdtl.org/lower-elementary/bay-laurel-room

Print Friendly, PDF & Email