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Projects are co-designed by artist-teacher teams to meet the needs of individual classes.

The following projects demonstrate the power of art to make learning meaningful and engaging. Lesson plans are meant to serve as guides rather than comprehensive instructions. We hope that you find these projects inspiring. Adapt, modify or simplify these projects to best support your students in becoming active participants in their own learning.

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Spirals of Theodorus

This project was founded on the idea that math is not merely problems on worksheets but a specific way of understanding and recording the world. To help students recognize the prevalence of underlying visual patterns in nature and man-made compositions, they are tasked with analyzing the defining characteristics of Theodorus spirals, replicating those qualities, and […]

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Exploring Collaboration and Narratives through Photography

Students work collaboratively in groups to create photo collages synthesizing their comprehension of photography techniques with chronological storytelling. After learning and applying a series of photographic techniques, such as perspective and angles, and analyzing how stories unfold in a logical manner, each group storyboards a sequentially logical story and conveys the story via a linear […]

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Patterns in the Sky

To align with their NGSS Earth and Space unit, and the enduring cross-cutting concept of patterns, students create artists’ books to describe the patterns that we can observe in our sky. Students observe, analyze, and depict patterns of the sun, the moon and its cycle, and the four seasons. Using various visual art techniques, including […]

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Disaster Town

Kindergartners deepen their understanding of push, pull, and change of direction through building their own towns and navigating various disasters that strike their imaginary inhabitants. Students gain working knowledge of the differences between two-dimensional and three-dimensional models as they craft objects such as mountains, buildings, and lakes using materials like paper, cardboard, and cotton balls. […]

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Mask Making: The Retelling of Ungalala by Brenda Parkes

Students learn to draw through shapes, break down animal faces into the mathematical concept of parts of a whole, and plan/design in order to create a three-dimensional mask of one of the animal characters from the book Ungalala by Brenda Parkes. This project was developed to help the classroom teacher very successfully teach the sequence […]

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Descriptive Language: An Exploration of Shape Poetry

Students create a shape-poetry painting using descriptive language and landform illustrations. Students learn various art techniques including: shape poetry, watercolor resist, collage, and illustration.

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Biomimicry: Engineering a Solution Using Animal Parts

Students learn to draw three-dimensionally, design a blueprint, and create a model/prototype in order to solve a human-impact problem using inspiration from a chosen animal part. This project was developed to help the classroom teachers successfully teach the Engineering Design unit as well as a way to successfully incorporate the development of fine motor skills, […]

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Mixed-Media Group Collage

Kindergarten students create mixed-media collages in order to learn more about coastal landforms in conjunction with a multicultural unit on Australia. Working in groups and using butcher paper, students problem-solve to create collages of the Great Barrier Reef depicting the reef, fish, plants, and animals that live there.

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Using Nonfiction to Deepen our Understanding of Fiction

Students delve into the lives of bats, ants, reptiles, and owls through research about habitat, adaptations, predator/prey, etc. Students create realistic habitat collages and papier-mâché sculptures that reflect accurate depictions of the animals and habitats. Students then read books in which the authors/illustrators use the same animals as the basis for fictional characters. They create […]

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Rainforest Installations

First graders gain a deeper understanding of the layers of the rainforest and the animals that inhabit them by creating a multimedia rainforest installation. In addition to creating visual artwork, over the course of the project, students also research, write, and perform in conjunction with their learning. Finally, students perform short skits comparing and contrasting […]

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Wearable Sculptures of Animal Adaptations

Third-grade students embody the spirit of animals after creating wearable sculptures of animal adaptations. Children begin by learning to carefully observe animals up close—actual specimens from the Natural History Museum—and to draw details of fur, scales, beaks, talons, claws, and more. Students draw, take notes, and sculpt animal adaptations in papier-mâché. Small features are blown […]

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Mapping the Human Body

Upper-level SDC students deepen understanding of the body and its various systems by creating a life-sized, layered model of the human body. Systems such as the skeletal, digestive, cardiovascular, and nervous are represented using different materials attached to clear film (acetate). Each layer can be shown individually or when placed together, each layer is visible. […]

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