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Lesson Plans

What is Beauty?

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
carla schiller (
Tue, 20 Oct 1998 20:43:09 -0700 (PDT)

I've just been enjoying taking a "walk" through the Philosopher's Forum
(even though I still haven't been able to figure out the software that
let's you rotate the picture!). Marcia and Ron are talking about "what is
beauty?" I have always found that a difficult, not to say subjective,
question (kind of like debating religion), but I'd like to share a
successful activity I did with my students. This year for my Art History
course I tried an activity I learned on this listserve from Nancy Walkup,
called "The Ugly Object" contest. Following the instructions in her post,
I asked the students to bring in the ugliest object they could find ("in a
brown paper bag, so we don't have to be subjected to its ugliness more
than necessary!). The kids *loved* it! They brought in the oddest
things, including leisure suit multi-colored pants from the '70s, an old
pair of underwear (eeww!), a picture of a little sister (oh well, I guess
it was inevitable), and a number of other diverse objects. We voted on
the ugliest after each student made a presentation, explaining why he/she
felt it deserved to be called "the ugliest." [It was a tie between the
leisure pants and the underwear.]

Then we made a list of all the qualities that made these things ugly.
Sure enough, they were the kind of things I would have expected to see on
a list of what makes something "beautiful," including color, form, shape,
use, texture, etc. It was much easier to then have the kids look at this
list and discuss "what is beauty" after having disucssed "what is ugly."

Hope this is useful.
Carla Schiller, Esq.
Teacher, Highly Gifted Magnet
North Hollywood High School, CA
webpage index:
"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people
always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can
become great." -Mark Twain