Includes over 200 activities

The AGSA Art School in a box is the 'one-stop-shop' for teaching students about art elements, art principles, art terms and art history. This resource will support you in delivering authentic art lessons that use artists and their stories as a starting point.

The interchangeable format of the cards provides infinite combinations, rather than a text book which has a linear path. It's like inception - layers and lateral thinking
Art Teacher, Belinda
I am looking forward to sharing this resource and what I learnt during the workshop with faculty members and develop some really engaging units of work across junior and middle years
Art Teacher, Paul

About the cards

Works of art

A selection of sixty works of art from the Gallery’s collection. These cards include an image and basic contextual information. A larger image of the work of art can be found in our online collection.

Art elements

Definitions of line, colour, shape, form, texture, space and value, with corresponding activities. Elements are some of the visual tools artists use to make works of art.

Art principles

Definitions of balance, contrast, emphasis, harmony, pattern, proportion, scale, rhythm, movement and repetition, with corresponding activities. Principles underpin how an artist uses visual tools (elements) to make works of art.

Art terms

These words are commonly used when we talk about artists and works of art. These cards include definitions and activities and will extend your art vocabulary.

Art history

These words are used to describe works of art or the movements they belong to. These cards include definitions and activities and will extend your art history knowledge.

Wild cards

Wild cards are our Curiosity Cards, which can be paired with any work of art in the Gallery or in the classroom. They are ideal prompts for engaging with works of art and practising critical and creative thinking.

How to use the cards

The AGSA Art Cards are versatile and can be used in the Gallery, classroom or at home. Of course, the entire set of cards can be explored by children independently or in groups; however, with over 100 cards to choose from, this might be a little overwhelming and unmanageable in a classroom setting.

A card dealing with a single work of art can be paired with multiple elements, principles, terms, genre and or wild cards. This may mean that potentially you could have twenty activities to choose from, for just one work of art. Let's use Absence Embodied by Chiharu Shiota as an example. This work presents a great opportunity for students to learn about line, pattern, colour, contemporary art or installation. In addition, you could even throw in a wild card as an icebreaker to start the lesson.

Planning a Lesson

Use our template to design a unit of work incorporating the AGSA Art Cards and a visit the Gallery.

Suggested example when using Chiharu Shiota's Absence Embodied as a starting point

detail: Chiharu Shiota, Japan, born 1972, Absence Embodied, 2018, Berlin and Adelaide, red wool, bronze, plaster, dimensions variable; Gift of the Gwinnett family through the Art Gallery of South Australia Foundation 2018, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery, installation view: Absence Embodied, 2018, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, photo: Saul Steed.

What is the most exciting way you could destroy this work of art?


Investigate the meaning of colours. How have these meanings changed over time and what do they mean in different cultures? Did you discover any colours that have multiple representations? For example, the colour red is often associated with love AND anger. What other meanings can you find for the colour red? Research other artists throughout time who have predominately used red, or another singular colour, in their works.


Treasure hunt! Find 5 works of art which have an emphasis on line.


Experiment - think about a repeated action you do daily, for example, washing your hair, brushing your teeth, eating or cleaning. Imitate this action with a drawing tool on paper.


Challenge yourself to create a work of art using a single material of one colour. Experiment with everyday materials such as paper, toothpicks, wool or fabric. Test its limits – tear, cut, bend, stretch, twist or overlap your chosen material.

Contemporary Art

Select a three‑dimensional work of art and consider how the artist would have made it. Write a method providing clear instructions for how this piece could be made again.


Create a collaborative installation using works of art made by each student in the class that represent something about who they are, their values, their strengths or cultural background. Select a place within the school or classroom where this installation can remain for the term.

The AGSA Art School in a Box is created by Dr Lisa Slade and Kylie Neagle at AGSA and is supported by the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation and the Department for Education.