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Museum Home Education Search Lesson Plans All Curricula Historical Witness, Social Messaging Lesson Plans What Is Work and Who Are the Workers? (Beginning Level)
What Is Work and Who Are the Workers? (Beginning Level)

Grades/Level: Lower Elementary (K–2), Upper Elementary (3–5)
Subjects: Visual Arts, English–Language Arts, History–Social Science
Time Required: 3–5–Part Lesson
3-4 class periods
Author: J. Paul Getty Museum Education Staff

Curriculum Home
Lesson Plans
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Related Works of Art
Glossary (PDF, 343KB)
Print and Web Resources (PDF, 191KB)
Standards Charts (PDF, 724KB)

Lesson Overview

Students will analyze depictions of workers in a drawing and two photographs. They will conduct an interview with a family member and create original drawings about work.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• identify types of work by examining a 19th-century drawing and two 20th-century photographs;
• conduct an interview with a family member about a hard day's work;
• create an original drawing about work;
• write a short news article about a worker.


• Reproduction of Farm Workers, South of Tracy, California by Dorothea Lange
• Reproduction of Man with a Hoe by Jean-François Millet
• Reproduction of Sadie Pfeiffer, Spinner in Cotton Mill, North Carolina by Lewis Wickes Hine
• Background Information and Questions for Teaching about the works of art (click on the thumbnails of the works below)
• Student Handout: Comparing Workers
• Student Handout: A Hard Day's Work
• Student Handout: Drawing a Hard Day's Work (printed on blue or brown paper)
• Student Handout: Template for "The Workers' Chronicle" (printed on gray paper)
• Pencils
• Paper
• Black charcoal pencils
• White charcoal pencils
• Tissue paper or blending stumps

Lesson Steps

Download the complete lesson by clicking on the "download this lesson" icon above.

Glossary Terms:
Words in bold on these pages and in the lesson are defined in the glossary for this curriculum (see "For the Classroom" links above).

Man with Hoe / Millet
Man with a Hoe, Jean-François Millet, 1860–1862

Standards Addressed

Refer to the charts for national and California state standards for this curriculum, found in the links at the top right of this page.

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