3rd Grade Art Lessons

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Vincent Van Gogh ~ Sunflowers

Students read a story about the life of Vincent van Gogh and looked at some examples of his artwork. They noticed that van Gogh used lots of colors in his paintings and they decided to so the same thing with collage. They put a vase of sunflowers in the middle of each table and used pencils to draw the outline. For the collage they painted with glue and stuck pieces of torn paper to create the colorful sunflowers. The goal was to try to use a variety of colors and create a somewhat abstract image of flowers. The result is a beautiful "garden".
MACF: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 4.2, 5.2, 7.1, 8.3 

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: theee-four 60 min classes

Materials:
18"x24" colored construction paper
Elmers glue watered down
paint brushes used for glue application
pencils

Learning Objectives:
 


Andy Warhol ~ 5 Patterns in Nature

Students are taught the idea that anything in nature can be categorized into one or more of the Five Patterns in Nature. Spiral, Meander, Packing, Branching, and Explosion. (Examples: Spiral: a seashell, a spider web; Meander: a snake's trail through the sand, ripples in the water; Packing: honeycombs of a beehive, grains of sand; Branching: trees, veins on a leaf; Explosion: a sunflower, a snowflake.) 

Students reviewed the five patterns in nature and were introduced to the artwork of the American artist Andy Warhol. They created a grid using rulers and pencils and filled in their grid with abstract interpretations of the five patterns in nature. This is reminiscent of many of Warhol's screenprints, such as the famous print titled "Marilyn Monroe". Students noticed Warhol's vibrant use of color in his images, and they used bright markers to color in their own pictures.
MACF: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.4, 3.2, 5.1, 8.3, 10.1

Grade:  3rd grade

Time:  two 60 min classes

Materials:
9"x12" white paper
pencils
rulers
Shapie markers
colored markers

Learning Objectives:
 


Personal Archeology Watercolor Resist

In Mrs. Brown's Art class third grade students shared what they knew about Archaeology. They were then told imagine that 1000 years from today someone was going to begin an Archaeological dig in their backyard. What would they find? They brainstormed ideas of things that they could bury in their backyard to tell future civilizations about themselves. They then created a drawing using pencils, sharpies, and oil pastels that showed their important items buried underground. After their drawing was complete they painted over the entire image with watercolor paint. The watercolor paint resisted the oil pastels and gave the image the look and feel of being underground.
MACF
: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.3, 2.6, 3.3, 10.1
 

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: two 60 min classes

Materials:
12"x18" white paper
pencils
Sharpie markers
oil pastels
watercolor paint

Learning Objectives:
 


Glue/Pastel Plant Drawing

Third grade students discussed that difference between observational drawing, and drawing from their imaginations. When it was time to start drawing, they each had a plant in the middle of their table for them to look at. They drew their picture with pencil first, then traced their pencil lines with Elmer's glue. After the glue dried it created little barriers that divided the sections of the plant. They filled in their plant with color using pastels. Students were encouraged to blend and mix colors. The result is a beautiful garden of plants!
MACF: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1
 

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: two-three 60 min classes

Materials:
12"x18" black construction paper
pencils
Elmer's glue
chalk pastels

Learning Objectives:
 


Silhouettes

 Third grade students learned about silhouettes and look at some examples of them in artwork and in photographs. They then created their own colorful background using watercolor paints.  On top of their backgrounds they collages black construction paper to create a silhouette in the topic of their choice. 
MACF: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.4, 2.6, 3.

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: two 60 min classes

Materials:
6"x18" white paper
6"x18" black construction paper
pencils
watercolor paints

Learning Objectives:
 


Fraction Fish

Third grade students learn about fractions in their Math class. They used their knowledge of fractions to create an underwater picture using cut paper circles. they were asked to identify different fractions in their pictures, such as 1 whole, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, some students even created pieces as small as 1/32!! They had a good time making their pictures while reviewing their Math concepts. 
MACF: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.4, 3.2, 5.1, 8.3, 10.1
 

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: two-three 60 min classes

Materials:
12"x18" blue construction paper
assorted colored construction paper
pencils
circle tracers
Elmer's glue
googley eyes

Learning Objectives:
 


Op Art Checkerboard

 This project is a student favorite, but it is also a challenging one. Students are shown examples of Op Art and artists such as M.C. Escher and Bridget Riley. They are then shown the steps for creating the type of Op Art shown above. The end result is a really complex image with colors and overlapping shapes!

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: two 60 min classes

Materials:
9"x9" white paper
pencils
rulers
compass or assorted circle tracers
Sharpie markers
colored markers or crayons

Learning Objectives:
 


Crazy Hair Day

As a fun project we created self portraits using crazy lines and colors to give ourselves a "Crazy Hair Day". The goal was to fill up the entire paper with hair!
MACF: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.6, 3.1, 3.3
 

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: one-two 60 min classes

Materials:
12"x18" white paper
pencils
Sharpie markers
watercolor paint, or markers, or crayons

Learning Objectives:
 


Piet Mondrian Painting

After looking at the artwork of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, students used pencils and rulers to divide their paper into an abstract arrangement of shapes. They used tempera paints (primary colors only) to paint some of the shapes. The others were left white, like Mondrian's. They used strips of black paper to make straight clean lines once the paint dried. 

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: two-three 60 min classes

Materials:
9"x12" white paper
pencils
rulers
tempera paint (red, yellow, blue, black)
strips of black construction paper

Learning Objectives:
 


Warm or Cool Shape Design

Students reviewed the difference between warm and cool colors. They traced their design with sharpie and then had to choose either warm or cool colors to fill in their design. Some students chose to divide their paper in half and do one half warm and one half cool. When it came time for coloring I showed them the difference between "messy spaghetti coloring", and nice neat coloring. 

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: one-two 60 min classes

Materials:
9"x12" white paper
pencils
Sharpie markers
colored markers
shape tracers

Learning Objectives:
 


CD Cover Design

I was recently given 100's of empty CD cases. 3rd graders will design their own CD cover for a personal mix CD. They will come up with a list of songs that represent their life and personality, then they will design a front and back cover for their CD. 

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: two 60 min classes

Materials:
white paper cut to fit CD case
newsprint for sketches

empty CD cases
pencils
Sharpie markers
rulers
markers, crayons, or watercolor paint

Learning Objectives:
 


Fall Pastel Leaves

We gathered leaves from outside for this project and talked about the changing of the seasons. Students looked at the leaves and talked about the wide assortment of colors that can be found on fall leaves in New England. We also talked about the variety found in the shapes of the leaves. This project is a great opportunity to get students to experiment with pastels, mixing, and smudging. We stress the fact that all leaves are different so there is no right or wrong for this project. Having this mindset seems to give the students the freedom they need to experiment with different mixing and smudging techniques of pastels. 

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: one 60 min class

Materials:
12"x18" tan construction paper
pencils
chalk pastels

Learning Objectives:
 


Facial Expressions

 Students created several "self portraits" each with a different facial expression. They used mirrors to look for subtle changes in their facial features as they modeled different expressions and feelings.

Grade:  3rd grade

Time:  one 60 min class

Materials:
white paper
pencils
Sharpie markers
crayons

Learning Objectives:
 


Clay Coil Pots

 Student used clay to create their own coil pots. They are beginning to get into the more complicated methods of clay sculpting using "score and slip" to attach to pieces of clay together. They built up their coil pot to whatever shape they wanted. They used underglaze to add color to their coil pots, then they were dried and fired.  To avoid the accidental mixing or spilling of expensive glazes, I put out 12 colors, two on each table, and I let the kids choose one color for the inside and one for the outside. Then they all move around to the colors that they need. I tell them to leave the brushes at the table with the colors so they don't have to wash brushes until the very end up cleanup. Kind of like musical chairs, there is a lot of moving around, but it really works!

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: two 60 min classes

Materials:
clay
slip
underglaze
clear glaze

Learning Objectives:
 


Aboriginal Animals

 Students studied the artwork of the aborigines and specifically focused on their paintings of the 'Dreamtime Spirits". They created their own painting by first using the dot technique mastered by the aborigines. For the background I gave each table a tray full of paints, and each student a pencil. They dipped the eraser in the paint and they filled their paper with dots.  Next, they selected an animal to use a focal point. I had them draw an animal on brown paper with pencil. Then they filled the animal in with lines and patterns using an assortment of black, gray and brown markers.  Once they drew and traced their animal with neutral colors it was glued into the center of their dot painting.

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: three 60 min classes

Materials:
12"x18" brown construction paper
9"x12" tan construction paper
pencils
Sharpie markers
brown markers
tempera paint
pencils for dipping erasers in paint

Learning Objectives:
 


Color Wheel Names

Student reviewed the color wheel and why it is arranged in that particular order. They then drew their name in bubble letters. They divided their drawing into six sections )one for each color on the color wheel) and colored in their name using oil pastels. They were then given Red, Yellow, and Blue paint and they used those three colors to mix and create all the colors on the color wheel. 

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: two 60 min classes

Materials:
12"x18" white paper
pencils
Sharpie markers
oil pastels
watercolor paint

Learning Objectives:
 


Valentine Designs

It's also nice to celebrate Valentines Day with some create expressions. Hearts do not have to be cliché. In fact, the students did a great job turning a "regular old heart" into many different creative designs. 

Grade:  3rd grade

Time:  one 60 min class

Materials:
12"x18" white paper
pencils
Sharpie markers
crayons or markers

Learning Objectives:
 


Picasso Portraits

 Students explored the artwork of Pablo Picasso by reading a short story about him and looking at some of his paintings. They compared and contrasted his different styles of painting, naming characteristics of each style. In the end we focused on cubism and each student created a portrait in the style of Pablo Picasso. They used pencils and Sharpie markers to create their drawing, and Tempura paint to add color. The final paintings are very intriguing!

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: two 60 min classes

Materials:
12"x18" white paper
pencils
Sharpie markers
watercolor paint

Learning Objectives:
 


Quabbin Reservoir

 Students learn the history of the Quabbin Reservoir in Central Massachusetts. They read the story "Letting the Swift River Go" and viewed some photos of the Quabbin. After that they had to draw images of what the Quabbin might look like if it had been flooded before all the buildings were removed.

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: two 60 min classes

Materials:
12"x18" white paper
pencils
Sharpie markers
oil pastels
watercolor paint

Learning Objectives:
 


Yarn Weaving Cup

 Student will use their previous knowledge of weaving to create a "Yarn Weaving Cup". It brings the concept of weaving to a new dimension for the students. To do this project students must: Draw 11 equally spaced dots along the top of the cup.  Cut a small slit 1/2inch at each dot (do not cut all the way down the cup because it makes the plastic "fray"). Pull down at each small cut so it stretches down almost to the bottom of the cup. You are peeling down each slit like a banana peel. :) Use yarn to weave in and out, in and out, in and out…

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: three 60 min classes

Materials:
Plastic Solo cups
yarn of assorted colors
scissors
beads (optional)

Learning Objectives:
 


I Saw the Number 5 in Gold

 Students looked at examples of artwork from the artist Charles Demuth, specifically his painting "The Figure 5 in Gold". We talked about what they thought was happening in the painting. What did they see? What did they recognize? etc.. (It is a fire engine driving away). Then we talked about how he created a central focal point with the large gold number, but how there were also other numbers and letters throughout the painting. To make a math connection I had them divide their background paper into sections. They glued their golden number into the middle of the paper, and they filled each section with repeating math equations that equaled the center number. This takes a while. I told them that from far away it should just look like a texture. After that was done they painted the background paper.

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: two 60 min classes

Materials:
9"x12" white paper
pencils
Sharpie markers
rulers
watercolor paint
gold foil paper

Learning Objectives:
 


Abstracted Cats

Students looked at the artwork of Laurel Burch, an artist who was famous for her creative way of depicting cats. The third graders really seemed to enjoy this project and it gave them a fun starting point for experimenting with patterns and colors. 

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: two 60 min classes

Materials:
12"x18" white paper
pencils
Sharpie markers
oil pastels
watercolor paint

Learning Objectives:
 


Outerspace Watercolor Resist

This lesson was suggested to Mrs. Brown by a students and it has become a popular drawing assignment among students. They create an outerspace picture being as creative as they want to be (aliens, etc..). After they are finished with their drawing the color it in using oil pastels, then paint the whole paper black to make it look like everything is floating in space. 

Grade:  3rd grade

Time: two 60 min classes

Materials:
12"x18" white paper
pencils
Sharpie markers
oil pastels
black watercolor paint

Learning Objectives:
 

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