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Lesson Plans

ID:UA/ Criticism & Aesthetics 2nd Activities

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Kerin Allen (
Mon, 23 Nov 1998 16:04:13 -0700

Kerin Allen
Art and Ecology Lesson
Additional Criticism and Aesthetics Activities
Student level: Intermediate

Criticism Activity : FINDERS / SEEKERS

The activity is based on the cooperative learning skill, pair
check, where the one student instructs and the second responds. The two
switch at a prescribed interval so each child has an opportunity to be
the ‘coach' and the ‘learner'. This is a follow-up activity to the
Criticism segment, introducing Lynne Hull and her artwork.

Location: Inside a classroom followed by an outside setting (ie:Sabino

Objective: Students will ‘find' similarities between the artwork
design, the functional concept and discoveries they located both in the
classroom and a natural environment setting. Students will relate their
findings and defend their selection after each event. On completion of
both events, they will compare and discuss the findings from the
classroom and the natural environment in relation to the artwork.

Preparation: In both settings, the instructor provides the artwork,
pencils and a container with individual slips of paper. Each slip has
one ‘find' instruction related to the criticism questions. The
following are possible examples.
... something that might have been used to make this design.
... an item that resembles a shape (your choice) in the artwork.
... other shapes that the artist might have used in this artwork.
... a location that is similar to the one in the artwork.
... an item that functions in a similar manner to the artwork.
... one thing that could also be an abstraction of an element in

Event: In the classroom setting, students pair up. Each student
selects a ‘find' slip and a pencil. One student reads their ‘find'
slip outloud to their partner, providing encouragement but no
assistance. The partner analyzes the artwork then ‘seeks' that which is
requested on the slip. They may retrieve the item (if possible), draw
or note the location on the back of the slip. When that student
completes their ‘find', the partners switch roles. The activity
repeats. When all have performed the activity, they gather as a
group. Each pair reads their instruction slip, shows their ‘find' or
their notes and discusses their selection.
After the second event takes place in the natural environment, the
group gathers again to compare findings from the different locations.
They discuss how their different findings relate (compare/contrast) to
the design and function of the artwork.

Options: Students may use their ‘finds' to design their own
functional artwork. This may lead into a studio project.


Aesthetics Activity : WHAT ART THOU?

This is a role-playing activity that takes place over a series of
class meetings. This activity requires time for the students to
research, discuss, write and perform their assigned parts. Teacher and
students may discuss the Aesthetics Puzzle: Nature as Inspiration for
Artists prior to this event.

Objective: In the course of their role playing, the students will
determine what criteria defines a work of art versus an artifact. They
will decide how (if at all) the artwork in question fits within their

Premise: A distinguished gray-haired gentleman makes an
appointment with the curator of the art museum. He wishes to show the
director an object he found in the root cellar on his newly acquired
property. At the appointed time, the gentleman arrives with a landscape
painted on the surface of a thin clay slab. The painting has partially
deteriorated due to moisture and the signature in evidence, is difficult
to read. The gentleman wants to know who the artist is. The curator
decides that deciphering would not be too difficult and assigns a team.
During the process of deciphering, the team discovers the name T.
Cole. However, the team also discovers marks under the peeling surface
that appear to be petroglyphs. The curator is notified and calls in a
team of archeologists. The archeological team eagerly investigate the
marks. They all convene in a meeting of the minds to determine if the
piece is a work of art or a petroglyph of an ancient civilization.

Players: A distinguished gray-haired gentleman
An art museum curator
A team of art specialists
A team of archeologists

Preparation: The students will write a dialog or prepare a speech to
fit the roles selected. Students of each team may research the work
of Thomas Cole and / or the petroglyphs to assist in their debate.

Event: The students will play the individual scenes as written.
All will meet to determine how to classify the landscape painting on the
slab. The art specialists will debate the merits of the work as fine
art. The archeological team will debate the merits of the work as a
petroglyph. The distinguished gentleman and the curator will be swayed
to either side depending on the persuasive arguments. Each team will
draw their own conclusion based on their findings but the final
determination will be made by the distinguished gentleman and curator.

Option: The artwork in question may be changed as needed to suite
the knowledge level of the students. Additionally, more research may be
required if this event is a prelude to an art history segment.