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One-Point Perspective City Streets (5th)

Student Sample
This is a lesson that I've feared doing for quite some time now. My first experience doing one-point perspective with students was when I was student teaching at a middle school a year and a half ago. The teacher I was working with often taught his 7th graders how to write their names in one-point perspective... and so I designed a project that would be very similar to his. I spent HOURS putting together a custom animated powerpoint (which was indeed amazing) to show students how to draw in one-point perspective. I THOUGHT I would just show them - and then they'd be good to go. Ohhhh how naive of me. ;) haha
So I knew going into this one that I might have some issues teaching it effectively but ended up being pleasantly surprised!
 On Monday I started by showing my 5th graders a Powerpoint which explained what drawing in one-point perspective means and entails. The powerpoint also had some custom animated slides which demonstrated to students the steps of drawing in one point perspective (horizon line, vanishing point, 'receding lines' - otherwise called orthogonal lines, and parallel lines).
After showing the Powerpoint I gave each student a piece of paper and asked them to draw a horizon line in the middle of their paper and a vanishing point. The along with them on my white board, we drew six shapes and put them into one-point perspective. *This is one thing I learned when teaching in middle school - no matter HOW well animated your powerpoint is, you STILL need to draw it in person along side them. Some students just need to physically see you do it!
On Tuesday we began with a new blank sheet of paper on which I had students draw a horizon line and vanishing point. This time however, I had them go ahead an draw two receding lines from the vanishing point towards the edge of the page (to make the road). I then demonstrated step-by-step how to draw their shape face (which ends up being the side of the building) so that the bottom corner touches the edge of the receding line. Then they draw a line from the top corner of their shape to the vanishing point. Then students line up their ruler with the side of their shape and slide it towards the vanishing point (without changing the angle) to determine their buildings length - then draw a line. Once those steps are completed, students erase all the lines they no longer need (extra receding line, horizon line inside their form, etc.).
Go to my TPT store to get a nicer FREE printable version!!
Next I demonstrate how to draw another building behind their first (which begins with drawing the edge of another shape-face poking out from behind their first building). After that, I demonstrate how to draw details such as doors, windows, sidewalks, billboards, etc... and then students go to town.
Finally on Wednesday-Friday we move onto the big 12"x18" paper to create our final drawings. Students begin in pencil, then outline in sharpie, and then color in with color sticks (I'd love to try watercolor instead). Because I know how frustrating and confusing drawing in one-point perspective can be (I still remember tearing up over it as a high school student) - I created a worksheet (which is left on their table while they are drawing) to refer to in case they forgot how to do a step.

Student Samples
Doritos Locos Tacos!! Yumm! Wish this student had time to finish!

Love that this student tried a curved shape! :)

If you are interested in a more thoroughly explained lesson plan with the PowerPoint presentations (with animated slides to help students better understand drawing in one-point perspective), two step-by-step project handouts, two instructional videos (one is a quick 2 minute video and the other is a 10 minute descriptive video), check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store!


  1. Saved your hand out. I generally do a one-point with shapes with 4 th grade students. They really get in to it and I see them drawing that way during free choice the rest of the year. This year I borrowed a lesson from Phyl over at There's a dragon in my art room where she uses an arrow for a two point perspective. It's a bit more loosely structured but is working with my third grade students. I had to teach them to use a straight edge first, who would have thought they wouldn't know how! I learned the hard way,when the first class crashed and burned and we had to start over week two. Check her lesson out, really cool.

  2. This is basically urban sketching too. Very nice. ^_^ Beautiful drawings they did.


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