Lesson Plan Examples

This video is a short version of the mandala lesson presented to Fifth Grade

The following is an example of a first grade lesson plan:

Art Department 
Lesson Plan 

Course _ Elementary Art
Unit _Texture
Lesson _Lascaux Cave Paintings
Time _3-4 class periods (35 min. class period)
Audience: _First Grade (6-7 years old)

This unit will introduce students to the element of texture in art. Students will be introduced to pre-historic cave paintings, specifically Lascaux France. Students will learn how to incorporate texture into art by creating a “cave painting.”

John Dewey – “Art and Experience” 

John Dewey believed every person is capable of being an artist. “The human imagination is seen by Dewey to be a powerful synthesizing tool to express experience with the environment.” (“Art as Experience”, 2013) Art is an experience. His work was instrumental in expanding access to art education in the United States.

According to Dewey, it is important to understand the culture in which the art is made in order to truly understand the meaning. This lesson incorporates the culture (as archeologists have theorized) and historical background of the art work. Students are not just learning the formal elements of the work, but also the contextual meaning.

Science – caves unit
Social Studies – pre-historic culture

National Art Standards:

1. Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes.
Students will use texture to create a painting/drawing. The piece must include texture.
Students will discuss how the textured paper is different from a flat surface, the difference of oil pastels and how a cave painting can tell a story.

2. Using knowledge of structures and functions.
Students will discuss how cave paintings communicate an idea.

3. Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols and ideas.
Students will choose the subject matter for their cave painting. How does their chosen subject describe the surrounding environment?

4. Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Students will learn about pre-historical art work, including the caves at Lascaux, France, and their importance to cultural history.
Students will learn to identify pre-historic art work.

5. Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others.
At the end of class, students will display work. Students will be given the opportunity to discuss the work shown.

6. Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines.
Students will identify the connection between art and history.

Essential Learning:

Anthropology – the study of the history of human beings and cultural history.
Prehistoric – a time before written history
Element of art - texture, color
     Give a brief description of each element and how it relates to the project. Visuals (posters, PowerPoint, etc.) help to reinforce the idea.
  • Color – How something appears, the hues. Primary Colors – blue, red and yellow. Secondary Colors – purple, orange and green. 
  • Texture – How something feels, or appears to feel. Gives visual interest. 

Symbolism - Using a visual to express a concept. Think Egyptian hieroglyphics, Christian saint attributes, peace signs, etc.  Symbols can be complex or very simple.


Brown butcher paper

Oil pastels


Images of cave paintings

Images of pre-historic animals

Virtual tour of Lascaux cave paintings

Powerpoint lecture
The Cave Painter of Lascaux by Roberta Angeletti


Day 1: Introduction to Cave Paintings
  1. Read “The Cave Painter of Lascaux.”
  2. Technology Extension: Use the virtual tour website for Lascaux. After taking the tour, use the menu to explore details in the cave rooms.

Day 2: Begin Project
  1. Review the characteristics of a cave painting – natural colors, limited palette, animal subject matter, texture, etc.
  2. Students will be given a 14” x 14” piece of brown butcher paper. Students will need to give the paper texture. Crumpling, folding, smashing – students can use any technique they like. OPTIONAL: Take the paper outside. Use sidewalks, dirt or any other available spaces to create texture. Rubbing against natural materials gives the paper another visual layer.

Day 3-4: Finishing Project
  1. Students will choose the animals to include in their “cave painting.” Use images of pre-historic animals as a reference or give students the option to use animals they may see out of their own “cave” window.
  Limit the color palette to red, black, yellow, maroon and violet.
  2. OPTIONAL: Students can include a handprint in their cave painting.
  Trace a hand outline and fill it in.
  With teacher assistance, students can create a spray paint outline. Have the child place their hand where they want the image on their painting. Use a straw to blow paint on the paper. When the child lifts their hand, a negative shape outline is left.


Choose a high traffic area to display work. Find an area that could simulate a cave (deep display case, hallway, etc.) to hang work. If time and materials are available, create stalactites and stalagmites to display with artwork.


Older students can crush chalk pastels to mix with water, creating their own paint.

Use natural materials to create paint, i.e. dirt mixed with water.

Create cave painting on clay rather than paper.

Place paper on the bottom of desk / table. Have students draw lying on their backs.

Assessment Method:


Analysis questions:

1. Why do you think early man choose animals as subjects?

2. How realistic or abstract are the paintings of early man? What could this tell us about them?

3. What types of materials were used? 

4. What colors were used?

Technology Extension:

Caves of Lascaux http://www.lascaux.culture.fr/?lng=en#/fr/00.xml

Strategies for Developing Motivations (Wlodkowski, 2009):

# 1 Inclusion: Allow for introductions

o Discuss expectations for the lesson

#6 Inclusion: Clearly identify the learning objective and goals for instruction.

o Introduce pre-historic art and how it relates to modern art

o Review color and texture. How can they be used in this project?

#8 Inclusion: Assess learner’s current expectations, needs, goals and previous experience as it relates to your course or training.

o How does this unit and lesson relate to previous information?

o Review color and texture.

#12 Attitude: Eliminate or minimize any negative conditions that surround the subject.

o Keep distractions to a minimum, play instrumental music during work time, allow students to choose their work area.

#20 Attitude: Encourage the learners.

o Use positive criticism with students.

#32 Meaning: Selectively use breaks, settling time and physical exercises.

o Use brain breaks during class time.

#33 Meaning: Relate learning to individual interests, concerns and values.

o Allow students to choose subject matter and composition.

#34 Meaning: While instructing, use humor liberally and frequently.

#37 Meaning: Selectively use examples, analogies, metaphors and stories.

o Discuss the story of how the Caves of Lascaux was discovered by two young boys

o Visual examples of cave paintings

o Virtual tour of Lascaux.

#56 Competence: When necessary, use constructive criticism.

o Give students feedback on their work

#60 Conclusion: Provide positive closure at the end of significant units of learning.

o Display student work in high traffic areas.


(2013). Art as Experience. Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_as_Experience

Rollins, J. (1994). National art standards. Retrieved from http://www.arteducators.org/store/NAEA_Natl_Visual_Standards1.pdf

Wlodkowski, R. J. (2009). Enhancing adult motivation to learn, a comprehensive guide for teaching all adults. (3 ed.). Jossey-Bass.