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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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Water: The New Gold

What is the water cycle? How do we get our water? How do people around the world get theirs? While pondering these questions, students explore not only how they receive water, but also how other people around the world get their water and that not everyone has equal access to adequate amounts of clean and […]

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Depicting the Sun, Moon, and Stars

First-grade students combine visual arts projects with creative movement and narration to depict patterns of the sun, moon, and stars. Based on observations of the sky, students complete sketches, drawings, paintings, and sculptures of the sun, moon, and stars, and then use these artworks as backdrop pieces for a presentation of creative movement. Students are […]

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American Revolution Art Book

Fifth graders studying the American Revolution create several paper book pages depicting themes, events, causes, and discussions that occurred leading up to the American Revolution. Visual art forms include collage, design layout, folding, pockets, and other bookmaking techniques, in addition to research and writing in different styles. Student learning is assessed based on student presentations […]

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Environmental Public Awareness Murals

Students create murals inspired by the question, “How can we help take care of the earth?” Students embark on a study of the environment. They consider the current state of the environment, predict what the environment will be like in the future if we continue living the way we do today, and analyze how humans […]

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Unlikely Friendships: An Exploration of Characters, Settings, and Following Rules

Students write and illustrate a class book about two unlikely friends and the importance of following rules. Students analyze settings, characters, and scenarios in order to design, create, illustrate, and author a class book. Students are teamed up to work collaboratively in pairs to create pages for the book, applying a range of visual art […]

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Trade and Trajectory: An Exploration of Maps, International Relations, and Fruit

In researching the trajectory of fruits, vegetables, and products, from point of origin to their hands, students trace established routes and modes of transportation through the continents outlined in a seven-panel relief mural. Students begin by mapping the physical proximity of the continents and questioning the relationships between countries. For field research, students read labels […]

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An Exploration of the First Peoples of the Pacific Northwest Culture

Students’ research into the First Americans of the Pacific Northwest region centers around totem poles created by these cultures. These totem poles tell of family stories, using animals to portray human values and strengths. Through this research, students understand the close relationship the early inhabitants have to their natural environment, and the use of available […]

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Biodiversity and Beauty student rtwork

Biodiversity and Beauty in the Classroom: Rainforest Installations

In learning about the rich and complex abundance of plant and animal life in the rainforest, students embark on an inquiry-based investigation using a variety of source materials, including books, lecture, the Internet, and film. Students investigate how weather and geographic features affect and create the four distinct levels of the rainforest (emergent, canopy, understory, […]

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Sunlight and Ocean Life

Students deepen an understanding of the importance of sunlight and water, the interdependent relationships within an ecosystem, and the need of sunlight and water for plants’ and animals’ survival. Students research, observe, describe, and compare diversity in ocean layers. Students design and create a low-relief mural translating research into a visual representation of oceans layers, […]

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School Map

What is the make-up of a community? Who are its members and what activities do they carry out? These questions guide research on the surrounding community, offering a platform where English Language Arts and visual arts integrate. Research focuses on sites, services they provide to the community, and the people who work within them. Students […]

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Art, Orbits, and Emotion

The solar system provides an integrated context for learning in science, English language arts, and art. First-grade students demonstrate their learning about the sun’s importance within the solar system, and its relationship to the earth and moon by creating two- and three-dimensional visual art models, and prepare brief oral presentations to relate understanding of scale […]

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Migration of the Overlanders: A Musical Representation

Throughout this project, students investigate and define the events leading up to the gold rush. From the moment James Polk encouraged families to move west for new opportunity, all the way to the trailblazers setting off on foot to California, students investigate the circumstances they faced. Students gather information from stories and informational text to […]

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