Teaching Resource

Prompts for schools and art highlights at Tate Modern

Benode Behari Mukherjee
Lady with Fruit (1957)

During your visit to Tate Modern, discover over one hundred years of modern and contemporary art from across the world in the permanent collection displays. The artwork in the galleries speaks to many different curriculum points and syllabus topics, for students of all ages and abilities. As you move through the galleries, use the prompts on this page to kickstart your thinking and explore ideas that have been coming up in your classroom in new, maybe unexpected ways.

Starting points

Rasheed Araeen
3Y 3B (1969)

Think about these questions with your students before your visit to Tate Modern to encourage their curiosity and excitement.

  • What do you expect when you think of modern art? Have you encountered any modern art before?
  • What artwork would you like to see when you visit the galleries?
  • There are many different ways to make art; drawing, painting, sculpture, film, writing, sound, performance, the list is endless! Is there a medium you’ve never seen before? What do you think it will be like?
  • What subjects, themes, or topics do you find interesting? What ideas would you like to explore during your visit to the galleries?

When you arrive at Tate Modern, you can explore the galleries at your own pace, with any themes or ideas in mind that you’d like to focus on. Here are some suggestions to get your students started.

  • Find an artwork that you identify with in the galleries. What made you pick this artwork? How does it remind you of yourself?
  • Interact with an artwork in an unusual way; maybe with your eyes closed, or through a different sense. What changes about the artwork?
  • Pick two artworks in the same room and compare them. What do they have in common? What’s different about them? Think about their themes, use of materials – what stories are they trying to tell you?
  • Have you brought anything with you that looks like something you see in an artwork?
  • What artworks or artists have you been studying recently? Have you been making any artwork yourself? Can you find something in the galleries that inspires you?

Sensory prompts

All young people are always welcome to explore the galleries and engage with the artwork in their own ways. Here are some sensory activities and ideas you could try with your students.

  • What sounds do you hear in the gallery? Does one room sound different to another? What happens if you make a noise of your own?
  • What do you think of the building? What are the floors, walls and railings made of, and how do the materials feel? What is the light like? Do you feel warm, or cold?
  • What shapes can you find? Are there any shapes you’ve never seen before?
  • There are so many colours in the galleries. Do the colours remind you of anything you’ve seen before?
  • Can you find an artwork that reminds you of your favourite food? What does it smell like? What could it taste like?
  • How could you describe something you see in the galleries without using words?

Art highlights

There are hundreds of artworks on display at Tate Modern; it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start!

Here are some highlights from the permanent collection for you to discover during your visit. Encourage your students to explore, and use the prompts below to begin their thinking.

  • What do these artworks make you think about? What ideas are coming up for you?
  • How would you describe these artworks to someone else? What do you notice that surprises you?
  • What do you think the artists are trying to tell you through these artworks? What stories can you discover?
  • What other artworks surround each of these pieces? Why do you think they’ve been placed together? What ideas do they share; what’s different about them?

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