Primary and Intermediate School Programme

All primary and intermediate school programmes are led by gallery educators and take place in the gallery spaces, with hands-on activities in the Learning Centre when time allows. The descriptions below indicate what you can expect from each session; each programme can be customised for your class age group and area of focus – simply chat with our team today.

Exhibitions and programmes - Len Lye Centre
Introduce students to the art of Len Lye. The series of exhibitions described below provide rich and varied learning opportunities across curriculum areas to select from.
Term 1

Introduce the thunderous Flip and Two Twisters (Trilogy) to the next generation of Taranaki children as it reverberates around the gallery. Scheduled performances last approx. 10 minutes.

Experimental Moves brings together ‘scratch’ films, kinetic sculpture and items from Len Lye’s archive. Great for science, arts or film focus.

Jiggly shapes

10 Dec 2016 - 26 Mar 2017
Y 1 - 4, 75 mins
How does it go? Experience the sights and sounds of the kinetic (moving) sculptures in Len Lye: Experimental Moves. Discover links between science and art, comparing and contrasting materials and movements. We translate these ideas into our own body moves noting them on a class poster. In the Learning Centre students experiment with straws, tin foil and string to construct their own simple miniature sculpture to set in motion.

At school continue the investigation of materials, write a poem describing the movements and feelings of Len Lye’s sculptures, construct a group exhibition of sculptures on a recycle theme.

Experimental moves

10 Dec 2016 – 26 March 2017
Y1 – 4, 75 mins
How does movement get turned into art? We use Len Lye: Experimental Moves as inspiration to create and sequence body movement. Focusing on patterns of motion students turn their bodies into kinetic sculpture. We connect our moves to form groups of pure energy. In the Learning Centre students combine their dance moves with Len Lye’s sculptural sounds to create a dramatic performance.

At school use found instruments to create a soundtrack to dance to, make sketches showing the types of movement around you then use science ideas to discuss how things move.

Kinetic contraption

10 Dec 2016 – 26 March 2017
Y 5 - 8, 90 mins
Experience the movement and energy of Len Lye: Experimental Moves and Lye’s most powerful work A Flip and Two Twisters (Trilogy). We analyse the sculptures’ scale, properties of materials and types of motion. In the Learning Centre students use three types of material to construct three-part miniature sculptures which they temporarily connect to a motor to set in motion. Brmmm!

At school scale up your sculpture on maths paper, make a map of home or school labelling all the types of energy used, how does the human body get energy (add this to your map)?

Science enquiry

10 Dec 2016 – 26 March 2017
Y 5 – 8, 60 mins +
Len Lye: Experimental Moves is rich in science connections and is ideal motivation for science enquiries from many angles. Lye was a Da Vinci figure combining science and art. This is an invitation for schools to collaborate with the Gallery to approach learning as an experimental project. What do I want to know? How can I explore this further? Students develop their questioning skills to continue their investigation at school. Great links to science strands related to light, materials, movement and nature. Contact the gallery educators to discuss this programme’s details.

Art journal

8 April – 9 July
Y 5 – 8, 90 mins
How do artists and authors inspire each other? Students use On an Island: Len Lye, Robert Graves and Laura Riding to focus on creative writing and design different forms of writing and audiences, comparing and contrasting wall labels, poetry, science writing and promotional material. Students respond to the poems, book covers, and batiks by drawing and writing, starting their own journal. In the Learning Centre each student experiments with natural materials to produce a collaged book cover for their ideas to inhabit.

At school find out more about Len Lye and surrealism, design a poster for the exhibition, construct a group sculpture using natural materials.

Exploring Len Lye

All year levels, 60 mins +
What can we learn from Len Lye? Introduce your students to the wonders of Len Lye’s art and the acclaimed architecture of the Len Lye Centre. Experience the multi-sensory exhibitions through interactive activities adaptable to your students’ learning needs and level. Click through for related Term 1 and Term 2 exhibitions.

At school find out more about Len Lye and his art, start your search on our website

Abstract animation

Y5 - 8, 75 mins +
How did old school animation work? What makes Len Lye’s films still cool today? We go to the flicks to discover how image, movement and sound are combined to create an illusion. Students analyse animation techniques and use gallery zoetropes (animation viewing devices) to create their own moving image. Click through for related Term 1 and Term 2 exhibitions.

BYO your class video camera or cellphone to record students’ animations

At school view Len Lye films online or the Colour Box DVD available from the Len Lye Centre shop or loan from the gallery educators.

Kinetic kapahaka

All year levels, 60 mins +
Learn from Kureitanga II IV and Experimental Moves with a kapahaka focus. We collect new kupu Māori on a poster and translate these using body movement.  In the cinema, students work in groups to put together a sequence of moves using glow-in-the-dark poi.

At school continue to practice using Te Reo from your poster and extend to new body movements in larger groups to help tell a story.

Tiaki (caring for nature)

All year levels, 60 mins +
From the old to the new – what does contemporary art and Te Ao Māori have in common?  We experience Kureitanga II IV to introduce new understandings of an old Taranaki waiata; Pērā Hoki. In the Learning Centre students experiment with pastel on recycled plastic creating hieke (rain capes) that express a caring for water message.

At school extend on Te Reo by learning Pērā Hoki and using the provided image of Kureitanga II IV find a geometric shape to enlarge, reflect, repeat, rotate etc to create a mural design of your own. Weave a pattern with paper, plastic or harakeke.

Exhibitions and programmes - Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Come face to face with art in the flesh as your students have a creativity upgrade. The learning available from contemporary art reaches across the curriculum. Gallery education programmes immerse students in art. They come away knowing how to participate, becoming thoughtful gallery viewers with transferable skills and knowledge.
Term 1

Use the animation, sculpture, and photos in All Lines Converge to learn how objects and images can be symbols and tell stories. Students boost their hands-on skills and bring an environmental message back to school through Kureitanga I IV.

Term 2

Open Collection #3: Tom teaches students the fun of creating art from everyday graphics. Great for classes investigating visual communication.

Clay sculpt story

30 Jan – 20 Mar
Y1 – 6, 75 mins
How can art tell stories? We take a close look at the sculpture and painting in All Lines Converge, examining the objects and uncovering their backstories. Real, fake, their use and value? We sort objects and materials into categories. In groups we practise thinking as an artist by selecting an everyday object, imagining its function and brainstorming the story it could tell. In the Learning Centre each student gets squishy with clay, sculpting an object that when ‘exhibited’ with others tells a group story.

At school write for an audience by adding a title or wall label to explain your art to them, continue to experiment with sculpting clay or other squishy stuff.

Mural with a message

30 Jan – 20 Mar 2017
Y5 – 8, 90 mins
What’s up with abstract art? We tour Kureitanga II IV and All Lines Converge discovering how artists communicate using abstract art techniques. We stretch our imagination to see how many different meanings we can get from the same artwork and practise Te Reo connected with ngā toi. In the Learning Centre we invent a vocabulary of designs expressing a ‘clean river, clean sea’ message. In groups, students combine their designs to create a mural to paint on a wall at school. 
At school view artist WharehokaSmith’s online interview

Mood map

27 Mar – TBA
Y3 – 8, 75 mins
Enter the world of Tom Kreisler to explore the games he plays with everyday graphics in the large and expressive paintings of Open Collection #3: Tom.  Students investigate how weather maps, numbers and letters, symbols and abbreviations can be combined to create surprising artworks. We trial new ways to take a line for a walk. In the Learning Centre students invent a watercolour cartoon-style artwork that makes a funny forecast.

At school sketch or photograph examples of visual language around your school, search the library for cartoon illustrations, what are the features of a cartoon? Make a poster of cut out and categorised diagrams, maps, graphs and tables.

Te Reo Māori

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre welcome kura kaupapa and bilingual classes to all exhibitions. Kaiako Māori Morgana James works with teachers to ensure visits meet their language and hands-on activity needs. Contact Morgana James to discuss options 06 759 0858

Secondary School Programme

Secondary school visits to the Govett-Brewster are most successful when teachers and gallery educators collaborate. To inspire your programme we can shape a lesson tailored specifically for your students from Year 9 +. Selected exhibition themes are described by curriculum area and can be developed into a tour which includes worksheets, creative group activities or extended in the Learning Centre into workshops. Secondary art teachers taking part in the gallery schools programme consistently praise the sessions as relevant and thought provoking. “Keep up the good work. Activities engaged students perceptions about visual art and oral aspects of art."

Māori Studies

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre welcomes Wharekura and Māori Studies classes to all exhibitions. Kaiako Māori Morgana James works with teachers to ensure visits meet language and hands-on activity needs. Kureitanga II IV provides students with a challenging context to practice Te Reo, learn about the Taranaki waiata Pērā Hoki and see how contemporary artist WharehokaSmith re-interprets a traditional waiata. At school view WharehokaSmith’s online interview.

Contact Morgana James to discuss options
06 759 0858

Len Lye Centre

Focus on art and photography or with teacher input, go cross-curricula, with architecture, materials technology, performing arts, and wider social contexts such as the functions of contemporary art and the role of museums including cultural tourism. Students experience the energy of Len Lye: Experimental Moves and Lye’s most powerful work Flip and Two Twisters (Trilogy).  Analyse Lye’s sculptures in terms of scale, material properties, motion and energy transfer. Team up with the science teacher and plan a combined class visit.

Junior Art, Senior Art and Art History

All Lines Converge is a fascinating introduction to New Zealand art from the 70s to the present. The exhibition’s rich diversity of artworks by important New Zealand women artists make it especially useful for students investigating the symbolism of objects and images, and the social contexts and political motivation for art production. The exhibition also considers how the act of collecting art can challenge or support the bias of dominant culture – which artists are or are not represented in public collections and why?

Artists include Darcell Apelu, Edith Amituanai, Et al, Fiona Clark, Marti Frieidlander, Gil Hanly, Christine Hellyar, Maree Horner, Joanna Margaret Paul, Shona Rapira Davies, Lisa Reihana, Marie Shannon and Susan Te Kahurangi King.

Key points and learning activities include:
• formal analysis of photography, sculpture and installation
• investigate the social contexts of art including the role of art as an agent for change • artists with Taranaki connections
• art that reflects te ao Māori Open Collection #3: Tom offers students an alternative approach to painting characterised by humour, lightness of touch and expression.

Key points and learning activities include:
• use of graphics and text in art
• connections to Pop Art
• analysis of painting style and technique Revealed #2 – Florian Pumhösl and Paul Bonet introduces students to a delicate modernist drawing style great for inspiring experiments in design and printmaking back at school.

In Term 2 On an Island: Len Lye, Robert Graves and Laura Riding offers Design and Painting students a rare chance to see Ben Nicholson’s modernist paintings in the flesh as well as learn from Len Lye’s highly individual approach to book cover design, combining a surrealist sensibility with an eclectic range of media such as batik, mixed media and photograms.

Talk Art
Can your students say more about art other than whether they like it or not? This general introduction to the exhibitions gives students confidence and skills to analyse art through discussion and instant activities.
Top Art 2017

noon 22 May – noon 26 May
Todd Energy Learning Centre
Inspire your students with this exhibition of New Zealand’s 2016 secondary schools’ NCEA Level 3 art portfolios that achieved Excellence or Scholarship.

Direct film workshop
75 mins minimum, 24 students maximum How did Len Lye make films without a camera? Students view Len Lye’s direct films then use cameraless hand animation techniques to create their own whole class 16mm film. No cost, BYO school video camera or students’ cell phones to record animations.
Photogram workshop

45 mins minimum
Why make photos without a camera? We discover how Len Lye’s photograms are different to other types of photography and why someone would make a photogram. Key words include positive, negative, symbol, transparent, translucent and opaque. Get hands-on in the Learning Centre, experiment with the light properties of materials, arranging them on cyanotype paper to make a photogram. This unusual process combines science with art to make fantastic images. Try out a wearable camera obscura.

Media Studies

How did cameraless movies work? What makes Len Lye’s films in Len Lye: Experimental Moves still so cool? What does Oskar Fischinger’s immersive installation Raumlichtkunst (c.1926/2012)mean to today’s students? Inspired by innovative approaches to filmmaking and the stimulating exhibition environment, students deepen their knowledge of where film came from through a variety of hands-on options including zoetrope drawings, experiments with OHP colour projections and ‘direct’ filmmaking. No cost, BYO school video camera or students’ cell phones to record animations. The Len Lye Centre includes a state-of-the-art 62-seat cinema and access to Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s Medianet, enabling students’ year-round access to New Zealand’s rich history of film and television.

DVC and Materials Technology
What has DVC and Technology got to do with art? Len Lye considered art, science and technology as one. His ideas and outcomes for kinetic sculptures align perfectly with the technology curriculum. Experiencing Len Lye’s works opens students to new design possibilities as they witness technologies, mechanical properties, engineering and movement in a range of transformations. Teachers please talk to the gallery’s education team about how we can connect your students to Len Lye.

How can art be used to learn about science? Lye was a Da Vinci figure, combining science and art. In Len Lye: Experimental Moves students witness physics in action. Young physicists apply their classroom learning in the Gallery’s unique environment using worksheets and simple hands-on activities including off-cuts from Len Lye’s sculptures. Flip and Two Twisters (Trilogy), Len Lye’s most powerful kinetic, is a must see for students. Team up with the art teacher and plan a combined class visit.


Kick the year off with Len Lye: Experimental Moves. The kinetic sculptures offer students dynamic motivation for a wide range of dance outcomes. How can dance be used to communicate science ideas and information? See this TED Talk