Definition of Detail and Development

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Object Lesson

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The purpose of this exercise is to give students practice working with details and similes, as well as to reinforce the ideas of focus and development. You'll need enough good objects to have one object (placed in an opaque bag) for each group. A few of the objects should have similar characteristics, such as a knife and scissors. Each group will get a bag with an object in it, and they will have to describe it so that the other group can guess what the object is based on the descriptions.

Setup for Object Lesson

Have your class divide into groups of four. One group member should take an object from the grab bag. Tell the students not to show their objects to the other groups. Then have them place the objects where each member of their own groups can see them. Each group member should write a paragraph describing the object. Tell them not to name the object if they know what it is. They should use as much detail as possible in their descriptions, including sensory detail about size, shape, color, weight, materials, etc. They may want to make comparisons in their descriptions, such as "It's the size of a _________, or the shape of a _________."

Collect the objects when they are finished, noting which group had what object.

Each group member should then exchange his/her paper with someone in the next group. Everyone must then draw the object based on the description they've been given.

After they have completed their drawings, pass back the objects to the groups. Have students compare their drawings with the objects themselves. Discuss the descriptions. Which ones produced more "accurate" drawings and why? Where was there good detail? What would have made descriptions better?

Time Saving Tip

To save time, instead of having them compare their papers, collect them. Line up the objects on your desk. Then read a few of the papers and have them guess which object it is describing.