Structures of Art WebQuest


The Mayor of your city needs your help!!  Two days ago, he received a painting as a gift for his office.  Unfortunately, he was unable to open the gift before leaving his office for the night, and therefore is unsure as to what the painting looks like.  The next morning he came to find that his gift had been stolen.  Your law enforcement team has some of the best detectives around, and the mayor needs your help to track down who stole his painting.  The suspects have been narrowed down to 6 people, all found with stolen paintings.  It will be your job as the detectives to evaluate these stolen paintings and find out which one is the gift stolen from the mayor.  This will then help you decide which suspect is guilty.

The Task

In order to evaluate these stolen paintings, you must first learn all you can about the structures of art.  After you have learned about the different structures labeled as objectives 1, 2, and 3, you will be given clues to help you find out which painting was stolen and which suspect is guilty.  Be sure to finish one objective before moving onto the next, because this will help to keep your thoughts and evidence organized.

The Process


a)      Team up in groups of 3 detectives and assign each person one of the following roles:

  • Leader- Your job is to keep your group on task.  Always remember that your main objective is to find out which suspect committed the crime.  It is also important that you help your team members keep in mind what qualities each of the suspect paintings has, so that you can make decisions quickly and precisely.
  • Seeker- It is your job to lead the group through the given websites to guide your learning in understanding the clues
  • Scribe- Your job will be to write down information found to help guide the case.  This means that you will want to write down all of the information for each worksheet, found in the Detective’s Notebook.

b)      Print off the worksheets found in the Detective’s Notebook below.  These worksheets will guide your learning about the components of each of the six paintings.  This information will help in gathering all of the evidence needed to understand the clues, and convict a suspect of the crime.

c)      Paintings- You must take a look at the 6 paintings found with the suspects.  The clues will help you to narrow down which painting was stolen.

Suspect #1

Suspect #2

Suspect #3

Suspect #4

Suspect #5

Suspect #6

d)       After Looking over the suspect paintings, use assignment #1 (KWL Chart) from the Detective’s Notebook.  Write down what you know about the paintings, and what you want to know about the paintings.  Save the last section (what you learned) for later on in the investigation.

e)      Detective’s Notebook– you will need this to gather your evidence.

  1. KWL Chart
  2. Color Evidence
  3. Elements Evidence
  4. Types of Painting Evidence

Objective #1 (use this for clue #1)

For your first objective, you are going to learn all you can about color in pieces of art.  This includes learning about hue, value, intensity, color’s meanings, and color schemes.  You will want to use the Color Evidence worksheet found in you Detective’s Notebook, along with this color website to answer the questions.  Take a look at the entire website, but pay specific attention to the Wheel, Meaning, Properties, and Schemes tabs to left side of the website to help you answer the questions.  Also pay attention to the Images Index tab found on the left side, as you may use this page to find examples of painting that fit in the categories you will learn about.   Answer each question found on this worksheet, as these answers will help you with clue #1 in solving the crime.

Objective #2 (use this for clue #2)

For your second object, you must learn about the elements of art.  This includes learning about line, shape, form, color, texture, space, and composition.  Although color is an element of art, for this objective you will want to pay special attention to the other elements, as you have already learned a great deal about color from your first objective.  You will want to use the Elements Evidence worksheet also found in your Detective’s Notebook, along with this elements website.  As you work on your Elements Evidence worksheet, pay attention to the examples the website gives you.  These examples will help you understand what each element truly means.  You will then be able to easily spot these elements in the suspect paintings, and understand clue #2.

Objective #3 (use this for clue #3)

For your final objective, you will learn about the different types of paintings.  This includes learning about portrait, landscape, still life, abstract, and realistic paintings.  You will want to use the Types of Paintings Evidence worksheet found in your Detective’s Notebook.  To help you with these worksheets there are a number of websites you should visit.  The styles of art and the major types of paintings websites will help you gain an understanding of the types of paintings you want to learn about.  After visiting these websites, check out the games gallery.  The four games available in the games gallery will show examples of the styles of paintings, and help you gain a clear understanding of the definitions given in the previous websites.  Please play the games, as they will help you, but don’t spend more than five minutes on each one.  Once you have visited all three websites and filled out your worksheet, you will use this information to understand clue #3.

The Clues

Now that you have gathered all of the evidence needed, it is time to read the clues and start narrowing down the suspects.  You will use the evidence worksheets found in your Detective’s Notebook to help you in reducing the number of suspects.  After you read each clue, take a look at the suspect’s paintings and decide which paintings fit the description, and which do not.  After reading all three clues, you should be left with one painting, and that painting will then tell you which suspect has committed the crime.

Clue #1 (eliminates 2 of the 6 paintings)

Clue #2 (eliminates 2 of the 4 paintings)

Clue #3 (eliminates 1 of the 2 paintings)

It is now time to fill out the last section of assignment #1 (KWL Chart) that was partially filled out earlier on in the investigation.  With your group, you should discuss what you have learned about these suspect paintings.  What kinds of things helped you narrow down the suspects?  What can you now identify in these paintings that you couldn’t before?  What do you like about the paintings and what don’t you like?  Which painting was your favorite and why?  If you could make your own painting, what type of painting would it be?

Breaking the News

It is now time to break the news to the mayor and the members of the community.  Who did it?

  • As a group, write a paragraph about which suspect you convicted of the crime and why.  Use your evidence from your Detective’s Notebook to back up your claim.
  • After you have written your paragraph, have the leader of your group get up in front of the class during class discussion and explain why you convicted the suspect that you did.
  • During this discussion time, the other two members of the group (the seeker and the scribe) should be taking note of what evidence other groups had for convicting the suspects they did.  Who convicted a different suspect?  Did their evidence and claims make sense to you?  Did other groups in the class change your mind about which suspect was guilty?


The mayor is extremely happy that you found the person guilty of stealing his gift!  Although the mayor is happy to have his painting back, he doesn’t feel that he should hang it in his office.  Instead, he has now decided that he would much rather have the detectives who solved this crime make a painting for him.  He feels this will help remind him each day of the upstanding citizens of his community, and the people willing to help him in his time of need.  The mayor only asks that you first submit to him a memo detailing the qualities of this painting.  He will want to know:

  • What the subject of the painting will be (still life, portrait, landscape, abstract, realistic, or a combination of some)
  • What colors and intensities will be used, and what message will these colors convey?
  • What kind of color scheme or schemes will be used? (monochromatic, complementary, split complementary, analogous, triad)
  • What elements will be used and what feelings will this inspire? (different types of lines, positive and negative space, composition, shape and form, texture)

Now that you know so much about art, it shouldn’t be a problem for you to make a masterpiece for the mayor.  You may use the answers from your worksheets to help you in choosing the construction of your painting.  Working individually or with your group, it is now time for you to make a painting that you feel is a true work of art.  Keep in mind all of the new information you have learned, and you wont have a problem doing an outstanding job!!!!


You will be graded on the painting for your mayor as your project for this WebQuest.  You will be graded based on this rubric, which states that you must use clear color and intensities, a color scheme, all the elements, and have a subject for your painting.

For Teachers


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