Nothing Scares Me: YEAR 1 - Visual Arts - Explore3

Old Dog and Elly fear goannas, Ms Chen fears geckos, and Big Cuz fears the dentist. Little J boasts he isn’t scared of anything, but this may not be true. When Mick, Ally, Little J and Old Dog go to the beach, Little J discovers that his hero, Mick, is scared of Hermit crabs. Together, on the cliff, Mick and Little J overcome their shame of being afraid and help each other to be brave.

Explore - Use and experiment with different materials, techniques, technologies and processes to make artworks.


Revisit the events of Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 11 ‘Nothing Scares Me’, and have students concentrate on the animals that the characters were afraid of, such as a goanna, a gecko, and hermit crabs. Quiz students on why these animals were feared – their appearance and physical features, size, behaviours, colour, texture, or potential to harm a person if frightened themselves.

Introduce students to the visual design elements: line, colour, shape, texture, and form; and to the visual design principles/conventions: a combination of the design elements used to create balance, perspective, space, contrast, etc.  Refer to The Arts Glossary, Australian Curriculum v8.3.

Explain how most artworks incorporate two or more of the design elements and conventions to compose an art image and/or an art object. Select a couple of the artworks below and have students explore how the artists have used line, shape, texture, space and contrast in their artworks.

Contemporary drawing

As a class, brainstorm ideas and create a concept map about the environments/habitats where you would find a hermit crab. Have students collect, draw and source ideas and images about a hermit crab from websites, brochures, wildlife posters, YouTube video clips, etc. Display these ideas as stimulation for students to consider their design options. Some sources include:

Explore visual, auditory and tactile stimuli. Use Think-alouds strategies and discuss:

  1. What is the subject matter of the material collected?
  2. What specific physical characteristics does the animal have?
  3. How do you know this is a hermit crab?
  4. What lines, shapes, textures and colours can be seen?

How have these elements been used to show concepts such as pattern, repetition, space, contrast, focus, etc.?

As a class, explore the physical characteristics of a hermit crab. Ask students to imagine what a hermit crab would feel like, and look like, if they held it in their hand, turned it over, and looked at it from different perspectives. Ask students to suggest descriptive words for the contrast between its hard shell, its sharp claws, and its soft body. Explain to students that to really know the animal, they should look very closely at all the parts of its body, not just the typical way we perceive an object.

Provide students with a range of drawing media such as watercolours, chalks/soft pastels, tissue paper, fabrics, wool, etc. Have students use a variety of media to illustrate the body of the hermit crab. These illustrations can be built up with different soft fabrics and ‘soft’ lines and colours. In contrast, have students represent the shell as hard, using thick paint, heavy thick ‘hard’ lines, bright colours, etc. For the claws, have students explore ‘sharp’ with marks such as zig-zag lines, and pointed, harsher materials. Once the three separate parts of the physical characteristics are complete, students can assemble their hermit crab as an abstract representation of the original. They can add other features, such as buttons as eyes, to form the shape (either 2-Dimensional or 3-Dimensional) into a ‘hermit crab’.

Have students share their ideas about what they represented about the hermit crab, and explain why they chose to represent the parts in diverse ways. Have students explain the process they used to investigate the physical features and the use of the elements and conventions of art and design in their artwork.

Keep each student’s stimulus images, experimentation with media, composition options and the final design (or photos of the final design) in their own visual diary/folder. Explain to students that, when artists develop their ideas, they keep their initial ideas so they can recall diverse ways of exploring and thinking about an ‘object’.