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A good Art-focused lesson on Painting, the Elements of Light, and Studying Countries


Art, Science, Social Studies  


7, 8  

Title – “National Values”
By – Anne Bosanko
Primary Subject – Art
Secondary Subjects – Social Studies, Science 
Grade Level – 7th – 8th

Materials Needed: White 12″ x 18″ paper, white 8″ x 10″ paper, pencil, tempera paints, paintbrushes (multiple sizes), paper towels, bowls, water, construction paper, maps, library, computer lab

Number of Class hours: 10
Allow at least two weeks worth of class time for the project. Designate the first week to research and typing. Be flexible between the library and computer lab. Students may need to do some work outside of class. The art assignment should only take two to three class periods. Use the last few days for presentations.

Concept: Students will study variation of color and demonstrate what they learn in a tempera painting.

1. To link art with social studies.
2. To research a country of interest to them.
3. To learn the locations of the countries within a particular continent.
4. To learn the six elements of light.

(Art standards: 1, 2, and 4; Soc. Standards…)

Motivational Tools:
– Enthusiasm
– Research assignment
– Art project
– Presentation

Process: Social Studies Lesson: Students will be asked to choose one country (not the U.S.) to research in depth on their own.
– Students will have to clear their topic with the teacher so that no two are researching the same country.
– They will complete a paper, 4 – 5 pages in length. It should include the culture of the people, the climate of the land, the resources and anything else of relevance.
– Distribute 12″ x 18″ paper and instruct the students to make a simple sketch of their continent and each country within it.
– Instruct students to find a map of their country that illustrates the relief of the land.
– Distribute 8″ x 10″ paper and instruct students to enlarge their country to fill the entire page and sketch that map.
– Remind students to hang on to these for a future project.
– Class time will be given to go to the library and computer labs to do this.
– Be available to help with research.
– Following the completion of the paper students will be asked to paint an opaque illustration of their country and the continent in which it is located.

Art Lesson: Students will complete two paintings. One will be of the entire continent in which their country is located. The second will be of their country alone.
– The teacher will first teach the six elements of light
          o Highlight – bright white tempera
          o Light-tone – 30% of objects toward light
           — achieved by adding white to the color
          o Half-tone – point where light changes to shadow – achieved by adding the color’s compliment
          o Base-tone – shadowed 30% of objects
          o Reflected light – reflected from table
          o Cast shadow – darkest part of painting
– Instruct students to take out the sketches of their continent.
– Distribute paints and brushes and have students choose one color.
– The first painting will be to practice mixing different color values and showing different elements of light.
– Have the students paint each country a different value of the color they have chosen
          o Tips: the more countries there are, the harder this will be. Have students do their best to vary the color value of each country.
          o Remind students to mix enough of the color to fill the entire country.
– With the second painting, students will be asked to use their knowledge of the elements of light to paint a relief map of their country, achieving the illusion of the different elevations.
– If they wish they may use a published map for guidance.
– Be available to help mix paints and instruct on the illustrations.
– Let paintings dry overnight.
– Mat paintings.
– Give presentations.

* Value – A property of a color distinguished as light or dark by the presence of white or its opposite.
* Tone – Color quality, a gradation of color, either a tint or a shade.
* Gradation – A series of gradual, successive stages; a passing by barely perceptible degrees from one tint or shade to another.
* Tint – A pale or delicate variation of color; a gradation of a color made by adding white to it to lessen its saturation.
* Shade – A darkened color made by mixing it with its opposite; gradation of darkness.
* Variation – Something slightly different from another of the same type.
* Hue – Color: all the hues of the rainbow.
* Relief – The variations in elevation of an area of the earth’s surface.
* Resources – The total means available for economic and political development, such as mineral wealth, labor force, and armaments.
* Climate – The meteorological conditions, including temperature, precipitation, and wind, which characteristically prevail in a particular region.

Assessment: Students will be asked to give a 2 – 4 minute presentation on the country they researched. Paintings will be used in their presentation to show the location of their country and to explain the elevation of land. Grade paper according to grammar, references, and content. Grade presentation on preparation, audibility, and content. Grade paintings according to completion, neatness and accuracy.

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