Skip to main content

Curriculum - Art and Design - Lesson plan - Seats of learning

Primary: An everyday object like a chair can get pupils thinking about form, function and materials, and what it says about its intended user

Primary: An everyday object like a chair can get pupils thinking about form, function and materials, and what it says about its intended user

What the lesson is about

This is the first of a series of nine weekly lessons on the Take a Seat project in art, craft and design around the function, shape, design and structure of chairs and other types of seats. It encompasses a broad range of activities, including drawing, modelling, role-plays and group activities. It is aimed at Year 4 pupils.


  • Pupils learn about the roles and purposes of art, craft and design in different times and cultures.
  • Pupils can compare ideas, methods and approaches in others' work.
  • Pupils can say what they think and feel about others' work.
    • Getting started

Display photographs of chairs before the lesson, showing a range situated in different places. Assemble a collection of pictures of chairs from different times and cultures for the children to look at.

Identify one that is familiar to the children and talk about aspects of its form, such as the shape and height of the seat, the position of the backrest and so on. Ask the children to think about how the chair is used and what demands that makes on their design. School chairs, for example, need to be strong, portable and stackable.

Look at chairs from different eras and cultures. Identify the similarities and differences in their shape and form.

Talk about how the form relates to their purpose. What distinguishes chairs used for ceremonial purposes, those used for leisure and those used for resting? Look at how designs differ depending on whether a chair is decorative, long-lasting, temporary or a status symbol. Talk about the materials used to make chairs, such as wood, metal, plastic and gold. How are the chairs made? Are they hand-carved or mass-produced?

Use an interactive quiz to introduce the nature of chairs and their design influences ( Look at the range in schools and discuss their materials and function.

For a plenary, ask the children to identify parts of the chair and their purposes, different types of chair and the materials used. Discuss how a chair's form is related to its function, and how materials are used in making chairs.

Taking it further

For homework, ask the children to find examples of different types of chair, such as those that use different patterns and motifs, and those used by royalty and others in positions of power. Encourage the children to think about the lives of the people who use the chair.

Where to find it

The nine-week lesson plan, originally uploaded by Taipei101, can be found at

Other Art content in the TES Magazine this week

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you