A Teacher Directed Kid Pix Lesson
Many students and teachers are familiar with Kid Pix, a very
popular and user friendly drawing/graphics program. Since it does not require
much background to get into the program, many students are allowed to go
in and explore on their own. Most students stop short of learning or discovering
the many options available to them. As they launch the program they go
back to what they are familiar with and miss the power the program has
This lesson was developed to empower students and give them an opportunity
to explore, via a teacher directed lesson, the potential of each tool.
As students experience the lesson, they learn how to systematically go
through a program to view the various options or choices available to them.
Many concepts are introduced besides the use of the program.
The idea of variables is discussed in connections with choices you have
to make while working on your picture. Many opportunities are available to introduce vocabulary
that connects to math, science, and art.
- Tell the students what program they are going to use via a teacher
directed lesson. Since many of them will wonder why they are going to get
a lesson on a program they already "know" how to use, you will need to
explain what you are doing and why. Depending on the age, talk about empowerment
and that knowledge is power.
- Have students open the Kid Pix program. They are to stop
at the screen that offers them the various options on type of program to
choose. You will see the following screen.
- They are to choose "Kid Pix". Right there they have made
a choice. They had 6 options or variable. They are limited to "Kid Pix"
for this session. All other options are limits for this session.
- Have them look at the screen.
To the left is a set of 14 icons or
tools they can use. Have them point, with their finger, to each tool as
you call them out. Start with the pencil tool
and have them work their way
down to the man "oh no" tool.
At this point you may want to talk about variables. I use the analogy
testing peanut butter. I tell them I want to know which peanut
butter taste better Peter Pan smooth or Jiffy smooth. I will
make two sandwiches and eat them to see which taste better to me. We have
discussion on what kind of bread and jelly I should use. After some discussion,
they should realize that I must use the same kind of bread and jelly
for both sandwiches. You can only have one thing that is different, the
peanut butter. You may need to facilitate the discussion to come to this
conclusion. Feel free to use any other analogy to introduce the idea of
variables. This concept will be mentioned many times as we go through this lesson.
- They will only choose one tool for this lesson, the pencil tool .
There are no variable or choice when it comes to tools for the remainder of this
lesson. As they move their mouse over the blank page, they will notice
a stubby pencil appears as their cursor/marker.
Tell them that the stubby
pencil in not a "pitiful pencil" but a "powerful pencil".
- The next choice or variable is color.
Direct them to the color palate on their screen. They will see many colors available to them.
Depending on their age, you may show them all the other colors available by clicking
on the arrows under the color choices. Then give them a minute to
choose a color. Color is no longer a variable. For this portion of the
lesson; they must stick to that color.
- Their next choice is the set of six little pencils to the left and just below
their clean sheet of paper on the screen.
Have them describe the differences
between the pencils. They will come up with answer very quickly. Have them
come up with descriptive words that will help identify the characteristics
of the six pencils. Develop as many contrasting words as possible. They
can use their hands to show how the lines change.
- Thin to Thick
- Skinny to Fat
- Narrow to Wide
- Small to Big
- Have them click on the thinnest pencil and draw a line on their paper.
Have then choose the next pencil in line and draw a line. Compare the two
and discuss the difference. Continue across the row until you have a line
drawn for each of the six-line thickness. Now tell them you will settle
on the thickest line. Line thickness is no longer a variable.
- The next variable or choice to make is located just under the drawing area
to the right. It is a series of squares with different
patterns/textures in them.
The series ends with a question mark in the last square. The
square that is chosen by default is the solid colored square .
Have them use their fingers to point to the different choices they have.
Let them describe what they see. Some kindergarten students told me some
of the squares look they had the chicken pox or the measles! At any rate,
use whatever words they would like to use to describe the different textures
Have them choose the second square in the set of textures/patterns. Have
them draw a line with that choice. They will note the line from the solid
square and the square they are using now is different. Many will say it
looks "bumpy" or "polka dottie". Have them touch both lines with their finger.
They will note they feel the same but look different.
Then, discuss the word texture with them. We usually use the word texture
when we feel things with our hands. Have them feel a smooth surface like
their chair or the monitor screen. Then have them feel a rough surface
like the rug. Feeling with our hands is a familiar situation. But feeling
with eyes is not discussed often. We feel with our eyes often. You may
want to ask for examples of feeling with our eyes. Some ideas are maps
in our social studies books; posters or artwork that looks like it has
depth or a 3-D effect.
Have them explore the rest of the choices in this area
but stop when they
get to the white square. Have them draw with the white square
first some may say it doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t take long for
them to discover it can erase. They may be tempted to use the
or "oh no" tools but ALL tools except the
"pencil" are off limits for this lesson.
Of course the last choice is the .
Let them play with this for a minute
Another set of options is available when you click on the up and down arrows
right next to the "?" . This will change the shape of the line drawn,
from straight lines to a
more rounded lines .
Have them choose the following after the have gone to the rounded line:
- Pencil tool
- Thick line
Now have them draw a line very slowly across the paper. They will see they
are drawing a line that is rounded. Now have them draw a line moving the
mouse quickly. They will notice the line is not solid and a change depending
on the speed the mouse is moved. They will probably come up with the idea
that speed is the variable in this situation.
Depending on time and your audience, you may introduce the idea of keyboard
variables. There are some keys that can be used alone or in combination
to produce different effects. On the Mac they are the apple key, the option
key, the control key and the shift key. The PC has similar keys. You can
read the documentation or just experiment and record the results.
If time allows ask the students to draw a picture using the pencil tool.
They are allowed to use all options of color, pencil thickness, patter/texture,
shape of pencil or keyboard commands. They are not to use any other tools. Remind them they
can erase with one of the texture/pattern choices.
To get a clean sheet of paper, students can got the "file" menu, select
"new" and answer the question that pops us with "NO"
You can go through each tool in a similar manner. It usually takes from
45 minutes to an hour to do each lesson. As students become familiar with
the lesson format, you may be able to cover more then one tool in a given
session. If you are dealing with upper elementary or older students, you
want to model one or two lessons for the students, then have them volunteer
to present a lesson for one of the tools to the class. I would have them
go over the lesson with me first so that all bases are covered.
This may seem like a long drawn out process but it really empowers the
student. Students can transfer
the skills they learned in this lesson to explore the other programs in a systematic fassion.
Here are some projects students have done using Kid Pix
as a drawing program.
Old Yeller This is a series of pictures created by 5th grade students
to accompany each chapter of Old Yeller by Fred Gipson.
Pocahontas This is a class project where each students contributed a picture that
reflects some portion of the book Pocahontas by Jean Fritz.
Created on January 2, 2001
Last updated January 4, 2001