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

Art & Architecture Contents


Curriculum Home
Lesson Plans
Image Bank
Architecture Vocabulary (PDF, 137KB)

Lesson Overview

Students will observe images of gardens, visualizing and imagining the shapes, colors, textures, patterns, sounds, and smells of the plants, flowers, and other objects in a garden. They will also write about and sketch their observations. Students will then design and create a model of their own imagined garden.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• observe and write about the shapes, colors, textures, patterns, sounds, and smells of objects in a garden.
• sketch plants, flowers, and other objects in a garden.
• design and describe an imagined garden.
• create a model of an imagined garden.

Materials

• Reproduction of Verdure with Château and Garden by the Widow of Guillaume Werniers
• Image of the Central Garden by Robert Irwin
• Background Information and Questions for Teaching about Verdure with Château and Garden
• Background Information and Questions for Teaching about the Central Garden
• Student Handout: "Elements of Art"
• Pencils
• Paper (8½" x 11")
• Student Handout: "My Garden: A Survey"
• Student Handout: "My Garden: An Adventure"
• Scissors
• White glue
• Rulers
• Lunch-sized paper bags filled with various natural objects (pebbles, flowers) and recycled materials (artificial flowers, fake grass) (one per student or per pair of students)
• Cardboard pieces (8½" x 11") (one per student)

Lesson Steps

Part 1: In the Gardens

1. Have a class discussion by asking students whether they have ever planted flowers, plants, seeds, or even an entire garden. Ask students to think about the location of the garden. What buildings were around the garden? Did the garden enhance or fit into the surrounding architectural buildings? Why or why not? Inform students that gardens are very special because they change all the time—plants grow, leaves fall, flowers bloom, and the light changes from morning to night. Every time you set foot in one of these spaces, it might be different! Discuss how garden spaces are different from the surrounding architecture, which is more permanent.

2. Next, show the reproduction of the tapestry Verdure with Château and Garden by the Widow Guillaume Werniers. Have a class discussion, prompting students with some of the questions from the Background Information and Questions for Teaching about Verdure with Château and Garden.

3. Tell students that they will be writing down ideas about gardens. Pass out the pencils and paper to the class.

4. Now, show the image of Robert Irwin's Central Garden. Inform students that the image shows an "aerial view" of the garden.

5. Lead a class discussion using the Background Information and Questions for Teaching about the Central Garden. If necessary, go over the "Elements of Art" handout with students.

6. Next, ask students: "What kinds of plants, flowers, or other natural or man-made things do you see in the garden?" Tell students to sketch their favorite ones on the paper.

7. Download, print, and make copies of the handouts "My Garden: Survey" and "My Garden: An Adventure" for the entire class.

8. Have students choose either the Central Garden or Verdure with Château and Garden, and record what they "see, hear, smell—and feel" in the garden on the "My Garden: Survey" handout.

9. Then ask students to complete the sentences on the handout "My Garden: An Adventure."

10. Inform the class that at the bottom of the Central Garden, Irwin engraved the statement, "Always changing, never twice the same." The garden changes a lot during the seasons. For instance, many of the trees fill in with new leaves when it is spring. Ask students the following questions:
• What other parts of the garden do you imagine might change and in which seasons?
• How would the changes in the garden affect its surrounding buildings? Discuss your ideas with a classmate.

Part 2: In Your Garden

1. Tell students that it is their turn to create their own design for a garden. Ask students to consider the following:
• What kind of garden would you like to design?
• Will it have plants, flowers, grass, sand, stones, water, or other natural or man-made things?
• What shapes, colors, textures, and patterns will you include?
• In what setting would you place your garden?
• What types of buildings would be near your garden?

2. Instruct students to turn over their paper to sketch their design and write down their ideas. You may also pass out additional paper as needed.

3. Next, ask students to pick up a piece of 8½" x 11" cardboard and a bag of materials to use for making a model of their garden. Ask them to include the elements discussed in Step 1. Also, provide students with scissors, white glue, rulers, and the toothpicks. Then have students return to their desk or table to get creative and make their gardens!

4. Have students write a brief description of the garden they created on a separate piece of paper.

Verdure with Château/Werniers
Verdure with Château and Garden, Werniers, 1738—1778

Assessment

Students will be assessed on their
• descriptions of the shapes, colors, textures, and patterns, sounds, and smells of objects in a garden.
• sketches of plants, flowers, and other objects in a garden.
• designs and descriptions of their imagined garden.

Extensions

Have students display all of the garden models in the classroom. Then have an artwalk/garden tour where students can observe all of the models and answer questions about their creations. Invite family members and/or other students to the event.

Note: Words in bold on this page and/or handouts are defined in the "Architecture Vocabulary" or the "Elements of Art" student handout for this curriculum. You can use these resources in conjunction with the handouts. (See the "Art & Architecture Contents" links above.)