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After learning the cultural history of pottery, students design and make a functional piece here


Art, Social Studies  


1, 2  

Title – Everyday Earth
By – Aimee Bloom
Primary Subject – Art
Secondary Subjects – Social Studies
Grade Level – 1-2
Minutes per period – 35 minutes
Classes – 2


    “Everyday Earth” will teach students about the ceramic history, the cultural influences of pottery, and how clay is a natural resource that is made from Earth. The students will become aware of the process of pottery making by thoughtfully designing a clay pot using tactile skills. They will also become aware of the different design elements that are used in making pottery (such as shape, color, texture, etc.) through discussions based on an assortment of artworks.


      A. The students will:

      • Illustrate their knowledge of pottery by creating a functional piece of artwork.
      • Understand basic design elements and procedures in pottery making.

    B. “Now that we have learned a brief history of pottery, and how the Earth has supplied us with such a great medium as clay; we are going to make a piece of pottery, from our own design, that can be used in everyday life.”


    “Everyday Earth” allows students to learn about the importance, and the history of pottery through art making experiences. In this, the students will have to carefully think of a design that not only is appealing to the eye, but functional as well.


      Standard #1 – Creating, Performing, and Participating in the Arts

      1d. Reveal through their own pottery the understanding of how art mediums and techniques influence their own creative decisions.
      Standard #3 – Responding to and Analyzing Works of Art

    3b. Explain the visual and other sensory qualities (surfaces, colors, textures, shape, sizes, volumes) found in a wide variety of pottery exemplars.


      Use art reproductions such as:

  • “Pinkware earthware amphora from Qasr Ilbrin” (dated 5th to 6th century AD.) “Collection of painted bowls from Samarra” (dated 6,300-6,000 BC.
  • The book: ” Ten Thousand Years of Pottery ” by Emmanuel Cooper to further students’ inquiry.
  • Teacher exemplar.

ART MATERIALS: For easy preparation, clay should be individually packaged in small plastic zipped sandwich bags.

  • 25 prepared 1 lb bags of clay
    1 lb is about the size of a ball that fits comfortably in your hand
  • 30 sheets of 16″x16″ wax paper
  • One roll of masking tape


      * Clay – Stiff, sticky earth that becomes hard when baked. It is used for making bricks, pottery, and china.

      * Shape – The way a thing looks because of its outline; outer figure; form.

      * Functional – A piece of artwork that can be used.


indicates that these vocabulary words were taken from “Webster’s New World Dictionary For Young Readers”, Guralnik, D.B. (1979) Simmon & Schuster, New York



  • A discussion about pottery and a brief overview of its history will be made. Vocabulary will be introduced. 5 minutes.
  • Demonstration of the coil technique will be made. The students will be at their seats, and following along while the demonstration is given. 5 minutes.
  • Students will produce their pottery using the coil technique. An explanation on how to make handles and lids will also be given. 20 minutes.
  • One table at a time will place their pottery on a window edge on top of their name that has been pre-written on paper, throw away their wax paper, and wash their hands. 5 minutes.


  • A quick overview about the creation of pottery will be made. Vocabulary will be redefined. 2 minutes.
  • Demonstration of how to paint the clay pots will be made. Designs will be addressed. 5 minutes.
  • Tempera paints and various sized brushes will be set up at each table along with paper towels and cups of water.
  • Studio activity – students will paint their clay pots. 20 minutes.
  • Clean up- one table at a time will clean their brushes and wash their hands. All brushes will be placed back into the center of the table. Teacher will replace paint and refill water. 8 minutes.

Clay is found on most of the Earth’s surfaces, especially by riverbeds and lakes. The earliest forms of pottery were air-dried and were made from techniques such as the coil method, and pinch pot. A later invention, the pottery wheel (invented between 4,000-4,000 BC.) made it easier for potters to produce pottery.

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