Inspiring children one color at a time

Robot Line Drawing

By on Apr 4, 2011 | 13 comments

Line drawings are a wonderful way to express creativity. No matter what the subject, you are always assured of a variety of outcomes. I chose the robot for the boys in my third grade classes. Perhaps a bit gender biased of me, but the girls were equally as excited. I demonstrated various ways to draw robots using pictures, books and drawings as guides. I stressed the importance of working through “mistakes” and having fun with an unexpected line.

Cross-hatching can be a difficult technique to master but some of my third grade students found it easy. It takes a steady hand and a bit of patience but those who tried were rewarded with great contrast in their robot.

Third Grade Robots


  1. Wonderful drawings! I know what you mean about the gender bias thing. I sometimes worry that my lessons might be overly feminized, so I see no problem in doing something that is overly masculine. Balance. jan

    Snippety Gibbet

    April 4, 2011

  2. These are AWESOME drawings – I made 3D recycled robots with 3rd grade this year, it’s a fun age for art!


    April 4, 2011

  3. I am on the look out for lessons that boys would like too. I have one homeroom that is all boys. They started out with 12 and now a new one joined and they’re up to 13. The other homeroom has only 6 girls and 11 boys! How’s that for an unbalanced grade!!! Needless to say I need ideas that boys will find interesting! BTW, when we do girlish things like Valentine’s Bouquets, I told them to make it like their grandmothers or mother’s would like!!! That seemed to work.


    April 4, 2011

  4. I like this! I think I’m going to get my 4th or 5th graders to do this at the end of the year. They’d be into it and they’d think it would be “easy”. That would also be good for me as I’m starting to put away some of my stuff. My second graders made robots using the styrofoam like material from our new computers – a material I just couldn’t have thrown away! They connected pieces with toothpicks and Elmers glue and cut pieces with strong plastic knives. They used various other materials such as color wire, foam paper and those little plastic eyeballs. The 1st graders are already asking if they get to do them next year! As always, thanks for your ideas!!


    May 1, 2011

  5. Looks like a great way to review types of lines and shapes. It is very inventive.

    Lisa Blain

    August 18, 2011

  6. hi patty:
    i love this lesson! i just finished a line unit with my 3rd graders and am going to steal this lesson so they can apply all the new ideas we just learned.
    your students’ results are so varied and individual – i’m curious to know how you introduced the lesson and how you encouraged that?



    September 21, 2011

    • Hi Robin,
      I get asked this alot.
      I can’t say I know exactly how to encourage kids to be individual and creative, but for me, I believe it starts with my demo. I created handout for this lesson that offered ideas for different types of robots and then I demonstrated the main components of the robots on the white board. I have fun with my drawings and it seems to engage the kids for reasons I can’t explain.
      I make many mistakes in my demo to show kids what to do if they make a mistake. I also don’t use pencils in projects like this, I feel inhibits creativity. Permanent marker can’t be erased so it forces the kids to think about different solutions.
      Hard to say if this is what makes them so different though. Maybe it’s the handouts…I like to give lots of visual aids. Yeah, maybe that’s it.


      September 21, 2011

    • Thrilled! Thanks for the link!


      January 17, 2012

  7. Kia Ora Patty,
    your ideas are inspirational. Thankyou.
    From new Zealand,

    Pidge Mansbridge

    March 16, 2012

  8. Great idea. Love, love your website. I have a question. Have you ever seen ” Zentangle”? It’s an art form where patterns are drawn into spaces – kind of like doodling gone wild. A Zentangle would work with some of the robots. I have not tried it with kids in a class setting, but I would like to try with my 3-6 graders.

    Anne Marie

    November 6, 2013

    • Yes, I have heard of Zentangle but prefer to just call the art form patterns and lines. Easier for the kids!

      Patty Palmer

      November 6, 2013

  9. Hi Patty. Thanks for leaving me a comment. You have a very good point about the name Zentangle. It does suggest chaos. Something you don’t want as a starting point for an art lesson. :).

    Anne Marie

    November 10, 2013


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