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Lesson Plans

 
The Merry Jesters
Language Arts - Critical Response
Beginning/Middle/End is a structure for both critical and creative thinking. Students’ observations, descriptions, and inferences provide a solid foundation for imagining possibilities to fill in the missing parts of a narrative. Use this routine as a springboard for storytelling; to reinforce students’ sequencing skills; to support understanding of character, setting, and plot; as an exploration of genre; or to help young writers notice elements of craft, like composition, style, and choice of details.
And Then . . . You Just Smile
Language Arts - Critical Response
The Artful Thinking approach encourages active looking and learning through the practice of short, simple thinking routines. These routines help students to focus on specific aspects of an artwork and to organize their observations and ideas. The repetition of thinking routines across subjects and disciplines supports students in developing not only the skills for inquiry but also the habits of an inquiring mind. This lesson combines and scaffolds two thinking routines. The first focuses on observation and description, and the second on connection and comparison. It can be used in any context in which you want students to develop descriptive language and metaphorical thinking and to practice reasoning from evidence.
Red Flash
Science - Critical Response
Integrated learning in the sciences, technology, engineering, arts, and math relies on big ideas—like patterns, systems, and structure and function—that transcend disciplinary boundaries. Object-based thinking routines at the beginning of a math or science lesson can provide quick and engaging opportunities for students to practice connecting knowledge across disciplines. Use the Suggested Art Images in this lesson plan to ask your students, “How does this work?,” and encourage them to describe patterns, define systems, and relate structure to function.
The City
Language Arts - Critical Response
This lesson, although aligned with Career, Art, and Twenty-First Century standards, can be easily adapted for any core subject area.
Person in the Presence of Nature
Science - Critical Response
In this lesson, students will practice critical and creative thinking skills such as looking closely, imagining possibilities, seeing from multiple perspectives, and trying multiple solutions to design a creature that fits the environment they imagine in a work of art.
The Ballet Class
Language Arts - Critical Response
While biographers and historians are guided by actual events, artists and writers can select those details that suit their purposes, specifically to develop character, tone, conflict, and theme.
A Coming Storm
Language Arts - Critical Response
In this lesson, students will work in the opposite direction and use their skills in poetry to examine and interpret works of art.
Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War)
Language Arts - Critical Response
The more questions we generate around a problem, a text we want to explore, or a work of art, the richer our exploration and the answers we come to can be. This activity encourages students to build habits of mind around creative questioning as they work to generate multiple questions about a work of art and then use those questions as a basis for discussion.
The Return of Ulysses
Language Arts - Critical Response
Throughout history, artists have created visual images inspired by stories. Each new version is at once personal and universal, innovative while still connected to tradition, and unique in the way that it reflects the artist’s influences. This lesson guides students to look closely at two works of art that depict scenes from the same archetypal story in significantly different ways and to analyze how each artist reinterprets the story to make it his own.
Sugar Cane
Language Arts - Critical Response
This thinking routine supports students in developing meta-cognition, or thinking about their thinking. It encourages students to express their impressions of and assumptions about an artwork and identify the details that contribute to those impressions. They will not only make meaning from what they see but also develop awareness of how that meaning is constructed through visual evidence. This thinking routine allows students of any age or level to practice inferencing and evidential reasoning, essential learning skills across the curriculum.
A Man Shooting a Crossbow
Science - Critical Response
This lesson plan explores kinetic and potential energy in relation to a tool familiar to knights and soldiers of the middle ages and early Renaissance: crossbows. What is kinetic energy? What is potential energy? At what point in a reaction does an object possess kinetic or potential energy?
Hand-and-a-Half Sword
Science - Critical Response
The design of swords uses the concept of center of mass to create a functional weapon that protects the user. Through this lesson, students will engage in an inquiry based science lesson using the Physics in Art app to learn about and apply the concept of center of mass. By the end of the lesson, students will be able to explain and demonstrate the application of the concept of Newton’s Third Law by completing the guided notes while using the Physics in Art app and experimenting with center of mass in a lab.
Ghost
Science - Critical Response
In order to create his mobiles, Alexander Calder needed to use his understanding of torque and rotational equilibrium. In this lesson, students will use the Physics at the Art Museum app as a starting point to explore these physics concepts—as well as build an understanding how they allowed Calder to create his balanced mobiles. In addition, students will create a diagram of a mobile with three horizontal arms, and will explain why the design will achieve rotational equilibrium.
A Huntsman and Dogs
Language Arts - Critical Response
Mankind’s struggle for dominance over nature is a universal theme that has resonated with people throughout history. Whether linked to a specific belief system, geographic area, or culture, views about this relationship are ever-changing, and have often been addressed by American artists. This lesson explores the complex relationship of man in the natural world. Students will discover those details in artistic composition that reveal the artist’s views and compel the viewer to consider greater truths.
The Life Line
Science - Critical Response
A podcast is an audio program made available in digital format for download over the Internet. This lesson plan instructs students to develop an audio tour telling a story about a work of art. Writing and recording a podcast can help students become better writers because, unlike more traditional projects, they can hear the flow of their words and ideas. Using technology to share their work engages students and encourages peer review. Podcasting about art also builds many common core skills by challenging students to observe, inquire, infer, describe, conclude, revise, produce, and publish.
Cable Car, San Francisco
Language Arts - Critical Response
What can a portrait photograph reveal about its subject? What thoughts, feelings, and lived experiences are suggested by the subject’s gaze, facial expression, posture, or clothing? Unlike a painted portrait, a photograph happens in an instant. Photographs have the power to capture us in authentic moments that evoke joy, empathy, surprise, or fear. At their best, they inspire the viewer to stop and think about the moment of human life represented in the picture. In this lesson, students are invited to “step inside” a photographic portrait. They will use visual evidence to imagine the perspectives of both the subject and the photographer and to tell their stories.
Railroad Bridge, Argenteuil
Language Arts - Critical Response
The shift to implementing Common Core standards in schools has placed new emphasis on helping students develop critical thinking skills. While the use and definition of these skills continues to evolve.
Armor for use on horseback in the field
Social Studies - Critical Response
Armor is about protection – not to prevent the wearers from getting hit in battles or tournaments, but rather to let them take the hit – and survive. In addition to needing to be protective, armor also needed to let a knight move as freely as possible. This is as true about today’s armor, using composite materials and high-tech innovations, as it was true in the Renaissance. This lesson entices students to think critically about the decisions that lie behind the construction of armor from sixteenth- and seventeenth-century armor, including 21st Century Critical Thinking Skills of making judgments and decisions and using systems thinking.
Brillo Boxes
Science - Critical Response
Recent research has shown that we can build innovative thinkers by reinforcing a set of thinking tools or skills, including such skills as Observing, Abstracting, Pattern Recognition, Modeling, Transforming (among others).
Giant Three-Way Plug (Cube Tap)
Mathematics - Critical Response
This lesson plan is the second in a series that is focused on using art to enrich instruction in these critical skills. The research on which this information is based can be found in many sources, perhaps best summarized in the book Sparks of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World's Most Creative People by Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein.
Bicycle Race
Mathematics - Critical Response
Recent research has shown that we can build innovative thinkers by reinforcing a set of thinking tools, including such skills as observing, imagining, pattern recognition, modeling, and transforming. As these skills can be taught, it makes sense that we can help students become the creative thinkers that we will need in the twenty-first century.
Three Musicians
Mathematics - Critical Response
We constantly see patterns all around us, and our brains organize our experience of the world through the recognition of these patterns. Consider something as basic as a joke: tell a “knock-knock” joke to a partner. Tell a second one. The pattern becomes obvious. Now tell your partner that you have one more, but your partner should start. This time the joke is in the confusion that results when the pattern is disrupted. In fact, most jokes involve the expectation of some sort of pattern which is invariably broken to form the joke. Patterns not only help us make sense of the world, they allow us to form expectations and predict outcomes.
Disks of Newton (Study for "Fugue in Two Colors")
Mathematics - Critical Response
Recent research has shown that we can build innovative thinkers by reinforcing a set of thinking tools, including such skills as observing, abstracting, pattern recognition, modeling, and transforming (among others). As these skills can all be taught, it makes sense that we can help students become the creative thinkers that we will need in the twenty-first century. This lesson plan is the fifth in a series that is focused on using art to enrich instruction in these critical skills. The research on which this information is based can be found in many sources, perhaps best summarized in the book Sparks of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People by Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein.
Still Life with a Ham and a Roemer
Language Arts - Critical Response
This lesson plan is the sixth in a series that is focused on using art to enrich instruction in these critical skills. The research on which this information is based can be found in many sources, perhaps best summarized in the book Sparks of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People by Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein.
Perspective View of a Fencing Hall (Vue d'Optique)
Mathematics - Critical Response
Recent research has shown that we can build innovative thinkers by reinforcing a set of thinking tools, including such skills as observing, abstracting, pattern recognition, modeling, and transforming (among others). As these skills can all be taught, it makes sense that we can help students become the creative thinkers that we will need in the twenty-first century. This lesson plan is the ninth in a series that is focused on using art to enrich instruction in these critical skills.

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