Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education (MAEd)


Art and Design

First Advisor

Dr. Melody Milbrandt - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Paula Eubanks

Third Advisor

Dr. Marima Ross


This thesis presents a study on how fourth graders can learn and use metaphor to create meaningful and expressive artworks. It is intended to investigate how students can understand the idea of metaphor and how they can use it to illustrate their own thoughts and ideas within their artworks. Jean Piaget believes much abstract thinking does not occur until the Formal Operations Stage of eleven to thirteen years of age. This study sought to question the ideas of Piaget by introducing the abstract thought of metaphor to fourth graders who are at the approximate age of nine. It set out to demonstrate that students may understand the idea of metaphor while applying it to create meaningful artworks that demonstrate their own opinions, thoughts and beliefs. Concepts about metaphor were introduced to the students through a number of interactive lessons to develop their ability to implement metaphor into their own artworks. This unit taught students how to interpret metaphor and apply the use of metaphor to their own artworks.