"By Allison Palm, Education Coordinator"

Are you visiting ArtPrize with your students? Don't know where to start? We're here to help! Our Education team provides fun, hands-on, and intellectually stimulating lesson plans for students in grades PK - 12. Help create unique experiences with your students by following any of our FREE lesson plans. 

PK-2: Exploring The Five Senses

Big Idea: Do the five senses activate emotions, ideas and memories?

Before Your Field Trip 

Show examples of art that you can touch, hear, see, taste and smell. Why might an artist create a piece that can be touched, heard, smelled? Explore a range of different materials that engage all five senses and ask which emotions and or memories are triggered by the different sounds, tastes, smells and textures.

Field Trip 

While at ArtPrize, discover multisensory works of art and discuss what emotions or memories the artist might want to convey. Here is a list of questions that will help you facilitate a conversation

Conversation starters:

  1. Take a moment to pause and experience the work of art.
  2. What is happening? What can you see or hear?
  3. When appropriate: touch the art. What does the piece feel like? What are some words that describe how it feels (smooth, scratchy, squishy, etc).?
  4. Can you taste or smell the art?
  5. How does this piece of art make you feel? Why?
  6. Read the artist statement together. Why is it the way that it is?

Below are just a few ArtPrize 10 entries we found that are multisensory, but we are sure your students will discover many more while at ArtPrize.

Back In the Classroom 

Create a piece of art that considers at least two of the five senses. Some ideas that experiment with the senses could be making your own wind chimes (sound) or creating suncatchers with various materials (sight).

National Core Arts Standards focus: Creating

  • Engage in self-directed play with materials (VA:Cr1.1.PKa)             
  • Engage in exploration and imaginative play with materials use observation and investigation in preparation for making a work of art (VA:Cr1.1.Ka)
  • Make art or design with various materials and tools to explore personal interests, questions, and curiosity (VA:Cr1.2.2a)

Content Connection: Early Learning Standards - Science (Living and Non-living Things)

  • 2:6 Demonstrate greater knowledge and respect for their bodies (e.g. describe inside parts of the human body and their functions).

3-5: Nature, Ecology, and Art

Big Idea: Material choice and locations help communicate an idea.

Before Your Field Trip 

Go on a nature walk with your class to observe various sources of artistic elements found in nature. Explore natural patterns, color, and designs as well as how human interaction may have influenced the natural environment. Make connections to grade-relevant science curricula and discuss how artists can use the natural world as creative inspiration.  

Field Trip 

Explore entries that highlight the natural world. Facilitate discussion amongst students about how art and nature can intersect. The entries below touch on this theme of nature, ecology, and art.

Conversation starters:

  1. Take a moment to pause and experience the work of art.
  2. What do you see or hear? What is happening?
  3. Why is it the way that it is? The artist statement can help with this.
  4. How does it relate to nature, animals, and/or the environment?
  5. How do you feel when you’re looking at the piece of art?
  6. Does this piece of art connect to a larger environmental issue?

Back In The Classroom 

Create your own art in the environment. Using only natural materials (sticks, leaves, rocks, flowers, etc.), have students assemble temporary outdoor art pieces and share with the class why they chose those materials and that location.

By the end of this lesson, students will have experience in conducting a dialogue about how the environment and nature can be represented through art, and have discussed how art can be seen everywhere in the natural world.

  • National Core Arts Standard focus: Creating, Presenting, and Responding
    • ​Creating:
      • Apply knowledge of available resources, tools, and technologies to investigate personal ideas through the art-making process. VA:Cr1.2.3a
      • Create personally satisfying artwork using a variety of artistic processes and materials. VA:Cr2.1.3a
    • Presenting:
      • Identify exhibit space and prepare works of art including artists’ statements, for presentation.VA:Pr5.1.3a
    • Responding:
      • Determine messages communicated by an image. VA:Re.7.2.3a
  • Content Connection: Science
    • Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: Environmental Impacts on Organisms:
      • ​LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience: When the environment changes in ways that affect a place’s physical characteristics, temperature, or availability of resources, some organisms survive and reproduce, others move to new locations, yet others move into the transformed environment, and some die.(secondary to 3-LS4-4)
      • LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans: Populations live in a variety of habitats, and change in those habitats affects the organisms living there. (3-LS4-4)

6-8: Art + Personal Voice + Stories

  • Big Idea: Artists share personal stories through various mediums. Experiencing and responding to works of art can also give viewers a platform to share and express themselves. Explore personal connections to art and one another while you discover how your own identity shapes the way you experience the world and interpret art.
  • Pre: An artist can tell a story through symbols, colors and experience (without using any words at all). Artists create their work through their own lens and perspective they have on the world. What are some ways artists share personal stories through a work of art? As a class, practice observing at works of art, visual or performing, and speculate what story the artist is trying to tell. Use these prompts below:
    • Take a moment to pause and experience the work of art.
    • What do you see? What is happening?
    • Do you think the artist is trying to tell a story? What is that story?
    • Read the artist statement together. Did you correctly guess the story?
    • What emotions does this piece of art make you feel? What about the art makes you feel that way (colors, subject matter, etc).
    • ​Discuss the definition of identity and how life experiences create the lens in which you see the world around you and experience a work of art.
  • During: Using the previously listed conversation starters, encourage students to analyze the artwork they see that aims to tell a story or a personal narrative. The entries listed below touch on this theme of art and personal voice.

  • Post: Have students create their own works of art that tell a personal narrative or represent their identity. On squares of scrap fabric, students can decorate their piece in a way that describes themselves. Students could craft a representation of a memory, something that is important to them, or symbols that represent them. Sew or connect the squares together to make a quilt that expresses their narratives coming together to make a larger work of collaborative art.
  • ​National Core Arts Standards focus: Creating, Responding, Connecting
    • Creating
      • Identify, describe, and visually document places and/or objects of personal
        Significance. VA:Cr2.3.5a
    • Responding
      • Identify and interpret works of art or design that reveal how people live around the world and what they value. VA:Re.7.1.6a
    • Connecting
      • Individually or collaboratively create visual documentation of places and times in which people gather to make and experience art or design in the community. VA:Cn10.1.7a
      • Make art collaboratively to reflect on and reinforce positive aspects of group identity. VA:Cn10.1.8a
  • Content Connection: Language Arts
    • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.2
    • Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.3
    • ​Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.3.A

9-12: Art + Social Justice

Contemporary artists often create pieces as a response to society and issues of our time including social, political, and human rights.

Conversation Starters:

  1. Take a moment to pause and experience the art. Notice the small details while taking in the big picture.
  2. Before reading the artist statement, what do you think the artist is trying to convey through this piece?
  3. What in this piece catches your eye the most?
  4. Read the artist statement. Were you correct with your original guess surrounding the message? If yes, what is successful in the piece? If no, did reading the artist statement clarify your interpretation?
  5. What emotions does this piece stir in you?
  6. As the artist, would you have done anything differently in creating this?
  7. What does this piece of art offer to the general conversation of the theme it is based on?
  8. What question would you ask the artist about this piece or the topic if you had the chance?
  9. Does this venue or environment around this piece amplify or hinder the message, or influence your interpretation of it?
  • Post: Have students respond to the themes they connected to during ArtPrize by creating their own artwork with a social justice message. Encourage students to share with the class why they chose that particular issue, the reasoning for their chosen medium, and how their piece contributes to the larger conversation surrounding that particular issue.
  • National Core Arts Standards focus: Responding and Connecting
    • Responding
      • Hypothesize ways in which art influences perception and understanding of human experiences. VA:Re.7.1.Ia
      • Analyze how one’s understanding of the world is affected by experiencing visual imagery. VA:Re.7.2.Ia
      • Evaluate the effectiveness of an image or images to influence ideas, feelings, and behaviors of specific audiences. VA:Re.7.2.IIa
    • Connecting
      • Describe how knowledge of culture, traditions, and history may influence personal responses to art. VA:Cn11.1.Ia
      • Compare uses of art in a variety of societal, cultural, and historical contexts and make connections to uses of art in contemporary and local contexts. VA:Cn11.1.IIa
      • ​Appraise the impact of an artist or a group of artists on the beliefs, values, and behaviors of a society. VA:Cn11.1.IIIa
  • Content Connection: Social Studies and Sociology
    • Social Studies: Students should understand the search for community, stability, and peace in an interdependent world. NSS-WH.5-12.9
    • Sociology:
      • Students will analyze how culture influences individuals, including themselves. 2.2 (Ethnocentrism, Cultural relativity, Culture shock, American values)
      • Students will identify common patterns of social inequality. 4.1 (Privilege, Power, Racial and ethnic inequality, Class inequality, Gender inequality)
      • Students will assess responses to social inequality. 4.4 (Individual responses to inequality, Group responses to inequality such as social movements, Social policy responses to inequality)
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