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Activities adaptable to multiple grade levels

Divide and conquer

With the class divided into two groups, each group is assigned a different idea about a work of art (for example, two ideas about William Kentridge’s Portage could be that the people are marching in a celebratory parade or that they are moving from one place to another due to famine). Pair off within your group and find evidence in the work of art that supports your assigned position. Next, pair with someone from the opposite group and discuss your findings to convince them of your position. Lastly, debrief. What happened when you met with each partner? What new thoughts or ideas did you have after your discussion? Was either person convinced of the other’s position? What questions remain?

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Is it art?

Sometimes artists challenge what art can be by introducing new ideas, styles, and subject matters into their work. Select a work of art that you think challenges what art can be. Brainstorm reasons why people may argue why it is and is not art. Older students can use these notes to write a persuasive essay defending their position.

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