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Art Activities and Lesson Plans

  Web interactive activities: Art   

Image from Applique Quilt Activity
Applique Quilt Activity

Put patriotic motifs onto the quilt top, position or rotate them, and color them to create an applique quilt like those that Helen Gilchrist, age 17, did in 1842. Based on the Gilchrist bedcover in the Museum's collection.

This activity requires a flash plugin on your computer, which may be downloaded for free on the Macromedia site.




Image from Loaves - Painting Composition Activity
Loaves - Painting Composition Activity

Arrange loaves of bread, a knife, and a jug onto a canvas to create different compositions from the same elements that Macena Barton used in her painting, which is in the Museum's WPA collection.

This activity requires a flash plugin on your computer, which may be downloaded for free on the Macromedia site.




Image from Log Cabin Pattern Quilt Design Activity
Log Cabin Pattern Quilt Design Activity

Create a log cabin pattern design of your own or copy one from the examples by rotating blocks on a grid of 16 blocks. Quilters can use this to try out patterns. Anyone can use it for fun or a visual challenge.

This activity requires a flash plugin on your computer, which may be downloaded for free on the Macromedia site.




  Web-available Lesson Plans: Art   

Image from Analysis of Historical Photographs Lesson pdf
Analysis of Historical Photographs Lesson pdf
Learn techniques in analyzing historical photographs for cultural and personal information using the photographs by Frank Sadorus.


Image from Applique Bedcover Design Lesson
Applique Bedcover Design Lesson
Using 17-year-old Helen Gilchrist's 1840s applique bedcover as inspiration, and the Classical Revival Period motifs, design your own applique quilt top.


Image from Art in the Abstract: Abstract Figure Project
Art in the Abstract: Abstract Figure Project
This two-part lesson for elementary through high school students explores how different artists at different times have approached the figure and its abstraction.



Image from Art in the Abstract: Contrast and Compare Project
Art in the Abstract: Contrast and Compare Project
Junior high and high school students will view a pair of images and write a one-page compare and contrast description of their elements of abstraction.


Image from Art in the Abstract: Music and Visual Abstraction
Art in the Abstract: Music and Visual Abstraction
group project in which students of any age will listen to pieces of music and discuss which images correlate according to their elements of art and design.


Image from Art in the Abstract: Scale Project
Art in the Abstract: Scale Project
During two to three sessions, middle through high school students can reproduce an abstract unit focusing on the artistic element of scale.



Image from Art in the Abstract: Text-messaging Project
Art in the Abstract: Text-messaging Project
individual and group project in which students write a short description of a painting from this presentation in text-messaging style, switch messages with others, and try to guess which painting was being described from the visual vocabulary learned in the presentation.


Image from Artistic Analysis of a Photograph Lesson pdf
Artistic Analysis of a Photograph Lesson pdf
Photography is not only an historical medium; it is also an artistic medium. Using Frank Sadorus's turn-of-the-20th-century photographs and Nathan Lerner's 1930-40s photographs, learn to look for artistic elements in the composition, light effects, poses, and developing techniques. Many of the style elements that were popular in the visual arts of a given time appeared not only in painting and sculpture, but also in photography.


Image from Beautiful and Sublime Landscapes in Illinois
Beautiful and Sublime Landscapes in Illinois
 This lesson from Lewis and Clark in Illinois describes the 18th and 19th century aesthetics that influenced Lewis and Clark when they went West. Look at three of the Museum's 19th century landscapes, then create you own using this aesthetic.



Image from Botanical Illustration in Watercolor Lesson Plan pdf
Botanical Illustration in Watercolor Lesson Plan pdf
Observe plants, make detailed drawings, and then create a watercolor painting based on the principles of botanical illustration.


Image from Botanical Illustration Using Painter Classic Software Lesson pdf
Botanical Illustration Using Painter Classic Software Lesson pdf
Use the tools in Painter Classic with the Wacom pad and stylus to create botanical paintings.


Image from Botanical Illustration with Plant Studio Freeware Lesson pdf
Botanical Illustration with Plant Studio Freeware Lesson pdf
Use Plant Studio freeware to create virtual plants in a wizard, choosing the parameters for each plant part. Also breed new generations of plants.


Image from Butterfly and Moth Collection Lesson plan: County Poster
Butterfly and Moth Collection Lesson plan: County Poster
Lesson plan for grades 4 - 7 on researching and making a county butterfly and moth poster


Image from Compare Artists Lesson pdf
Compare Artists Lesson pdf
Students will compare the work of artists working in the same time and place to detect influences. Sometimes artists working in the same place and time communicate about art, see one another's art, and influence one another. Learn to recognize similarities and detect influences.


Image from Crazy Quilt Block Lesson
Crazy Quilt Block Lesson
Create a hand-sewn crazy quilt block of scraps, ribbons and embroidery.


Image from Decoys - Foul or Fair?
Decoys - Foul or Fair?
This discussion lesson introduces students to critical analysis of historical artifacts. Discuss, using photographic examples from the decoy collections of several museums, just how life-like decoys need to be, and which physical characteristics of waterfowl are considered by decoy makers when they create their carvings for hunters to use.


Image from Design a Piece of Furniture
Design a Piece of Furniture
Each style period of the 19th century contained its own motifs. After veiwing the Web exhibit and the labeled drawings of a piece from each period, students will look at other pieces of furniture (print sources, home, at stores), identify motifs, and select some to use to create their own unique piece of furniture.


Image from Design an Exhibit and Write Labels Lesson Plan pdf
Design an Exhibit and Write Labels Lesson Plan pdf
This lesson has suggestions for role-playing the members of a museum staff to create an exhibit. Learn the elements of an informative label. Learn how an exhibit is designed.


Image from Discussion and Experiments in Photography Lesson pdf
Discussion and Experiments in Photography Lesson pdf
Compare and discuss the photographic styles, approaches, and techniques of Lerner and Sadorus. Then take your own photographs and talk about your purpose and techniques.


Image from Dragonfly Anatomy Polymer Clay Model Lesson pdf
Dragonfly Anatomy Polymer Clay Model Lesson pdf
Study and review the anatomy of dragonflies by building this polymer clay model of a dragonfly.


Image from Exploring Themes in Art with Collage Lesson pdf
Exploring Themes in Art with Collage Lesson pdf
Explore four themes in the Making Connections Module and find print images to construct a collage on one of those themes. This could be done digitally or by hand.


Image from Eye on the Community Photography Lesson odf
Eye on the Community Photography Lesson odf
Students will learn about the people, places, and atmosphere of their community by photographing it.


Image from Finding Historical Design Motifs Lesson Plan pdf
Finding Historical Design Motifs Lesson Plan pdf
Study historical and modern furniture styles through images and find historical motifs in modern furniture. Discuss why designs of the 19th century and before persist today, and whether they are worth saving.


Image from Flower Symbolism Lesson Plan
Flower Symbolism Lesson Plan
Lesson Plan for grades 4 and above on flower symbolism webquest and research


Image from Forest Layers Lesson (Elementary) pdf
Forest Layers Lesson (Elementary) pdf
Study the layers of a forest, from the canopy to the litter, and create a landscape painting that reflects your knowledge.


Image from Forms for Exhibit Creation Lessons
Forms for Exhibit Creation Lessons
In the Classroom Exhibit lesson for the Behind the Scenes module, students can print out and use forms to keep records of the objects or specimens they are planning to exhibit.


Image from Frank Sadorus Collection Lesson Plan on Artists and Farms
Frank Sadorus Collection Lesson Plan on Artists and Farms
Artists in the 19th century portrayed farm life in the west with the romance of the Great Westward Movement. During the Great Depression artists looked back with nostalgia or with bitterness upon the farms that they remembered.


Image from Frank Sadorus Collection Lesson Plan: Creating a Photographic Family Tree
Frank Sadorus Collection Lesson Plan: Creating a Photographic Family Tree
Lesson plan for elementary to middle school students on creating a photographic family tree


Image from Freehand Computer-aided Botanical Illustration Lesson Plan
Freehand Computer-aided Botanical Illustration Lesson Plan
Lesson plan for grade 6 and up using Freehand software to paint botanicals


Image from Frost Trade Bead Collection Lesson Plan on Loom Weaving
Frost Trade Bead Collection Lesson Plan on Loom Weaving
Lesson plan for grades 5 and up on loom weaving of beads based on the beading designs of Native Americans as seen in Native AMerican beaded objects in the Museum's collection online.


Image from Frost Trade Bead Collection lesson plan on millefiori bead making
Frost Trade Bead Collection lesson plan on millefiori bead making
Lesson plan for grades 5 and up on making millefiori beads of polymer clay


Image from Frost Trade Bead Collection lesson plan on sewn beading
Frost Trade Bead Collection lesson plan on sewn beading
Lesson plan on Ojibwa sewn bead designs for grades 5 and up


Image from Genre Painting Lesson pdf
Genre Painting Lesson pdf
Learn how artists portrayed everyday life in the nineteenth century by painting landscapes peopled with humans and animals doing many activities at once to illustrate the life of the farm or family they were painting.


Image from Geometric-pieced Quilt Lesson
Geometric-pieced Quilt Lesson
Lower grades can create a pieced paper quilt using fabric squares and triangles. They will learn how quilters use shapes to create larger shapes and color patterns.


Image from Hand-molded Pottery Lesson pdf
Hand-molded Pottery Lesson pdf
Learn the techniques of coiling, molding, and hand-building clay to make vessels.


Image from Hexagon Pieced quilt design lesson
Hexagon Pieced quilt design lesson
Albert Small used tiny hexagons to create marvelous quilts. Bertha Stenge used traditions hexagons to create oriental-style designs for her quilts. See their quilts on the Keeping Us in Stitches quilt module, then make your own.


Image from Historical Object Research Form pdf
Historical Object Research Form pdf
Historians use forms to record information they find out about their historical objects. Students can use this when doing their research on objects of their own for their classroom exhibit.


Image from Host an Opening Reception Lesson Plan pdf
Host an Opening Reception Lesson Plan pdf
Learn how a museum or gallery holds a reception to open an exhibit, and learn how you or your class can hold one as a culminating experience of your unit.



Image from How to Read a Museum Label Lesson Plan pdf
How to Read a Museum Label Lesson Plan pdf
This activity gives a sample label from an artwork in the Museum from which to learn the types of information given in a museum objet label.


Image from Identifying Plants in Works of Art Lesson Plan pdf
Identifying Plants in Works of Art Lesson Plan pdf
Many works of art contain subject matter of plants or plant symbolism. Identify the plants and their possible meanings in five ISM works of fine and decorative art.


Image from Interviewing a Quilter Lesson pdf
Interviewing a Quilter Lesson pdf
Part of a history unit including quilts might emphasize the human side of quilting. Invite a quilter to the classroom and ask her/him questions about quilting. List and organize your questions to cover the quilter's life, family, reasons for quilting, etc.


Image from Local Motifs Quilting Design Lesson
Local Motifs Quilting Design Lesson

Inspired by one of Bertha Stenge's applique quilts, this lesson plan helps students choose motifs from their life and locality to create a quilt top.





Image from Log Cabin Quilt Block Lesson
Log Cabin Quilt Block Lesson
The Log Cabin section of the Museum's Keeping Us in Stitches Quilt module contains many versions of the Log Cabin Block and sets. Play the computer interactive version and/or print out the grid and color your blocks.


Image from Lost in Space Art  Lesson pdf
Lost in Space Art Lesson pdf
Lost in Space is a theme chosen to compare the use of space by three Chicago artists.



Image from Making Connections Lesson
Making Connections Lesson
This theme activity involves students using images of objects and art to practice interpreting themes.



Image from Native American Dye Plants Lesson
Native American Dye Plants Lesson
Learn how to create fabric dyes from natural substances in onion skins, walnuts, and flowers the way Native Americans and early settlers did. Dyed cloth can be used to make a prairie quilt (see lesson plan) or garment, or dye samples notebook.


Image from Ojibwa Sewn Bead Designs Lesson Plan pdf
Ojibwa Sewn Bead Designs Lesson Plan pdf
Native Americans sewed glass beads onto leather and cloth to decorate clothing and objects. Learn how to sew seed beeds on felt, and go on to decorate your own clothes!



Image from Patriotic Applique Design Lesson pdf
Patriotic Applique Design Lesson pdf
In the mid-nineteenth century, quilters sometimes used patriotic images in their applique quilts. Given one made by 17-year-old Helen Gilchrist, students will choose their own patirotic motifs and create a paper quilt top. There is also an interactive appplique quilt top activity on our web site.



Image from People at Work Lesson Plan pdf
People at Work Lesson Plan pdf
Work was one of the five themes that WPA artists were asked to use in their work. View artworks by the WPA artists on this theme, and create your own painting using the types of jobs we see today.



Image from Photographic Family Tree Lesson Plan pdf
Photographic Family Tree Lesson Plan pdf
Use photographs of your family, either in print or digital media, to create a family tree of several generations.



Image from Polymer Clay Trade Bead Lesson pdf
Polymer Clay Trade Bead Lesson pdf
View the Museum's Frost Trade Bead Collection Online and the Morton Barker Paperweight Collection online to find out how millefiori beads were made from glass, and hos they were traded in America. Create your own beads from polymer clay.


Image from Polymer Clay Trade Beads Lesson
Polymer Clay Trade Beads Lesson
Using the Frost Trade Bead Collection Online and the Barker Paperweight Colleciton online, students will learn how millefiori beads are made from glass and will learn to do a similar technique in ploymer clay.


Image from Portrait Painting Lesson pdf
Portrait Painting Lesson pdf
The Museum's Folk Art Web Exhibit contains early Illinois portraits by itinerant painters. Learn how they ran their art businesses in the 19th century.


Image from Prairie Quilt Lesson Plan pdf
Prairie Quilt Lesson Plan pdf
Create a cloth quilt or a digital quilt using scanned images of prairie life.



Image from Prehistoric Pottery Methods Lesson Plan pdf
Prehistoric Pottery Methods Lesson Plan pdf
Learn to build a pot of clay by molding, coiling, and pinching.



Image from Quilt Detective Lesson pdf
Quilt Detective Lesson pdf
You can discover the approzimate date of your quilt by checking the types of fabrics, the colors, and the pattern.



Image from Research an Object Lesson Plan pdf
Research an Object Lesson Plan pdf
Learn to use the Internet to find out about objects with the help of a set of guidelines for researching objects.



Image from Research Form for Historical Object Analysis
Research Form for Historical Object Analysis
Use this form to fill in information about your object that you find online or in reference books.



Image from Sadorus: Outdoor Photography Lesson pdf
Sadorus: Outdoor Photography Lesson pdf
Frank Sadorus specialized in outdoor photography in the first decade of the 20th century. He used light and shadow to create moods and special effects. Study his prints and get ideas for your own outdoor photography.



Image from Self-portrait Art Lesson pdf
Self-portrait Art Lesson pdf
Paint a self portrait using some of the principles and techniques used by our three artists.



Image from Spider Collection and Native American Collections Lesson Plan
Spider Collection and Native American Collections Lesson Plan
Lesson plan for grades 3-6 on making a spider-motif gorget based on an artifact from Dickson Mounds Museum



Image from Spider Collection Lesson Plan on Spider Anatomy
Spider Collection Lesson Plan on Spider Anatomy
Lesson plan for grades K-3 on spider anatomy


Image from Spider Gorget Lesson Plan pdf
Spider Gorget Lesson Plan pdf
Early Native Americans in Illinois used shell to create gorgets, or neck pendants.


Image from Story Quilt
Story Quilt
Students will view the video or web site of Fay Ringgold. Using the style of her quilts, i.e., a picture painted in the center, surrounded by a pieced border, and writing included as a narrative.


Image from Symmetry in Butterflies Lesson pdf
Symmetry in Butterflies Lesson pdf
There are three principles of protective coloration in butterflies. Explore these principles and create a 3-D painted butterfly with a symmetrical protective coloration. (also see the interactive on this lesson)


Image from Talking About Art Lesson pdf
Talking About Art Lesson pdf
Look at some paintings from the Museum's collecitons and discuss the elements of art or principles of design that the artists used to create them.



Image from Theorem Painting Lesson pdf
Theorem Painting Lesson pdf
In the nineteenthe century, theorem paintings were often done by young ladies practicing their painting skills.



Image from Urban and Rural Life: WPA Art Lesson pdf
Urban and Rural Life: WPA Art Lesson pdf
Students will analyze a WPA art work on a rural or urban theme and explain how the artist used the elements of art (line, space, value) to emphasize the theme or mood of the art work.


Image from Weaving Beads on a Loom Lesson Plan pdf
Weaving Beads on a Loom Lesson Plan pdf
This lesson from the Museum's Native American module focuses on bead weaving techniques. You can buy or construct a bead loom and, using a needle and thread and seed beads, weave a bracelet, ring, or even a necklace.



Image from Webquest: Flower Symbolism pdf
Webquest: Flower Symbolism pdf
This lesson plan comes from the Barker Paperweight Colleciton online. The lampworked paperweights have floral designs that would have had special meaning when they were made in the nid-mineteenth century. Victorians used the gift of flowers to send messages to people -- messages of love, sympathy, and other emotions. The Internet has many sites dedicated to this idea. You can find the meaning in some of the Museum's decorative arts motifs, or in the floral motifs of your own objects or art.



Image from Whole Cloth Quilt Lesson pdf
Whole Cloth Quilt Lesson pdf
Whole cloth quilts consist of one large piece of plain fabric for the quilt top. The quilter uses her sewing lines to create a pattern. Using paper and white pencil, students can create a classical or fantasty quilting design.



Image from WPA Lesson Plan on Elements of Art
WPA Lesson Plan on Elements of Art
Lesson plan in art on WPA artworks analyzing and creating art with elements of art for all age groups


Image from WPA People At Work  Art Lesson Plan
WPA People At Work Art Lesson Plan
Lesson plan in art based on the WPA theme People at Work for grades 5-12


Image from WPA Themes in Art Lesson pdf
WPA Themes in Art Lesson pdf
Work, stolen moments, American scene, modern sensibility, and social realism were themes that American artists used in their work for the WPA. Look at some examples and create your own painting on one of the themes.



Image from Writing from a Point of View Lesson pdf
Writing from a Point of View Lesson pdf
Read a story written from the point of view of a piano's life with a family and then try your hand at writing from the point of view of an inanimate object.



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Last updated 2006-10-20, 09:42 by sh