Lesson Plans

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Monochromatic Assemblage

Grade Level: Elementary School (Grades K–5), Middle School (Grades 6–8), High School (Grades 9–12)
Lesson Type: Collection

Royal Game I, 1961, is a golden monochromatic assemblage composed of found materials that the artist Louise Nevelson collected around the city. Nevelson transforms these random bits of wooden furniture, scrap materials, and frames into a unified and harmonious sculpture. In this lesson, students will learn about the artist and her compositions, and create their own found-object assemblage sculpture. 

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Multiple Me's

Grade Level: Elementary School (Grades K–5), Middle School (Grades 6–8)
Lesson Type: Special Exhibition

In this lesson, students will learn about Faith Ringgold’s For the Women’s House, identify the various types of women in the work, and create their own work of art in which they draw themselves carrying out different interests or hobbies that they enjoy.

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Painting an Impression

Grade Level: Elementary School (Grades K–5), Middle School (Grades 6–8), High School (Grades 9–12)
Lesson Type: Collection

Impressionist paintings are categorized by bright colors and loose brushstrokes meant to represent the impression a viewer has on a moment. The effects of light on a scene are also a characteristic of many Impressionist paintings. Claude Monet’s Chemin de halage à Argenteuil (Towpath at Argenteuil, Winter), 1875–76, gives the viewer an impression of a cold gray winter’s day in a suburb of Paris. In this lesson, students will become inspired by Impressionism and create their own technique and styled landscape painting.

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Personified Sculpture

Grade Level: Elementary School (Grades K–5), Middle School (Grades 6–8)
Lesson Type: Collection

In this lesson, students will learn about personification through Fernard Léger’s sculpture The Walking Flower, 1951. With emphasis on various ways to create an artwork such as a sculpture, relief, or drawing, students will create their own work of art capturing movement. 

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Poetry-Inspired Sculpture

Grade Level: Elementary School (Grades K–5), Middle School (Grades 6–8), High School (Grades 9–12)
Lesson Type: Collection

Lesley Dill uses text, often inspired by literature, in her symbolic sculptures. In Divide Light #2, 2002, Dill finds her inspiration in Emily Dickinson’s poem “Banish Air from Air . . . .” By combining text with a sculpture of her own hand, she captures her feelings and thoughts on the literary piece. This lesson focuses on Dickinson’s free-verse poetry and the symbolic uses of the text-based art of Lesley Dill. Students will study and discuss poetry, create their own poems, and design a sculpture combining the two art forms. 

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Recycled Reconstruction

Grade Level: Middle School (Grades 6–8), High School (Grades 9–12)
Lesson Type: Collection

Inspired by the artmaking process of Samaras, your students can reassemble recycled materials such as labels, newsprint, and scrap papers into a detailed composition.  

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Rhythmic Geometric Abstraction

Grade Level: Elementary School (Grades K–5), Middle School (Grades 6–8)
Lesson Type: Collection

Colored Rhythm, 1958, by Sonia Delaunay, captures the philosophy of Orphism, a branch of Cubism that focuses on bright colors and abstraction, by using shape and color as a style of expression similar to notes in music. Delaunay’s work is a geometric abstraction that symbolically represents the joyful rhythms of the universe, which felt were in harmony with modern life. This lesson, in connection with a music curriculum, will introduce students to the Orphism movement through emphasis on color, shape, pattern, and rhythm. 

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Soak-Stained Landscapes

Grade Level: Middle School (Grades 6–8), High School (Grades 9–12)
Lesson Type: Collection

Frankenthaler developed her own innovative soak-stain technique by thinning her paint with turpentine or water and pouring it onto bare canvas so that the pigment soaked into the untreated surface.

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Special Space Painting

Grade Level: Elementary School (Grades K–5), Middle School (Grades 6–8), High School (Grades 9–12)
Lesson Type: Collection

In Child’s Blue Wall, 1962, Jim Dine combines painting and sculpture to create both a realistic depiction of a child’s bedroom and an abstract painting of a night sky. Through the inclusion of physical objects and the re-creation of a domestic scene, Dine also elicits emotion from the viewer. Child’s Blue Wall invites memories of childhood spaces. In this lesson, students will make connections between art and their own experiencesStudents will re-create a space that has a personal special meaning in the form of a three-dimensional painting.

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Symbolic Self-Portrait

Grade Level: Elementary School (Grades K–5), Middle School (Grades 6–8), High School (Grades 9–12)
Lesson Type: Collection

Frida Kahlo was largely known for her symbolic self-portraits reflecting her life, loves, joys, and sorrows. Influenced by her Mexican culture, Kahlo uses vibrant color and meaningful imagery to portray her self-identity to the viewer. In this lesson, students will make connections to the artist while creating a self-portrait celebrating their own self-identity.

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Technology-Driven Art

Grade Level: Elementary School (Grades K–5), Middle School (Grades 6–8), High School (Grades 9–12)
Lesson Type: Collection

Sun, Tower, Airplane, 1913, by Robert Delaunay, is a celebration of modern technological advancements in the early twentieth century. The painting depicts Delaunay’s enthusiasm for technological developments in the new and modern world through the use of bright colors and fragmented imagery. This lesson will introduce students to three significant technological feats of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries while encouraging them to reflect upon the technologies we experience in today’s society.

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