Prancing Prints

Prancing Prints lesson plan

Study horses' anatomy and movements, exploring the work of Susan Rothenberg, then create a print of a horse in motion.

  • 1.

    Study photos of horses and Susan Rothenberg's work. Observe horses trotting and in other gaits to see how their legs move and their bodies are positioned.

  • 2.

    On white paper, use Crayola® Colored Pencils to sketch a moving horse and its surroundings.

  • 3.

    With Crayola Scissors, trim the edges from a recycled foam produce tray so you have a flat printing plate. Draw your horse picture on the tray, pressing hard with a ball-point pen. Scribe the drawing deeply into the foam.

  • 4.

    Cover a work area with recycled newspaper. Open a recycled file folder to use as a palette.

  • 5.

    To create a "rainbow roll" pour a thin ribbon of Crayola Washable Paint onto the file folder. Pour several colors next to each other. Using a brayer, roll out the paint on the folder, moving in the same direction as you poured it, so the paint doesn't blend together very much.

  • 6.

    Apply the paint to the printing plate with your brayer.

  • 7.

    Press the wet side of the printing plate onto a clean sheet of white paper. Rub gently to make sure the paint is transferred evenly to the paper. Your horse drawing will show as white lines in a field of color.


  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Participate in shared research and writing projects.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
  • MATH: Solve problems involving measurement and estimation of intervals of time, liquid volumes, and masses of objects.
  • SCI: Observe and compare the many kinds of living things that are found in different areas.
  • VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.
  • VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.


  • Possible classroom resources include: Horse Anatomy by John Green; Horses by Laura Driscoll; Everything Horse: What Kids Really Want to Know about Horses by Marty Krisp
  • Encourage students to create a single-color print of the same image using only one paint color. If preferred, students can create their drawing done in a dark line by printing with a light color of paint on a dark piece of construction paper.
  • Have students use this same technique with different subjects such as portraits or landscapes.
  • Students research the artist Susan Rothenberg. Investigate her early life and career as an artist. Organize research into an electronic format for presentation to classmates.
  • Repeat this artistic technique for other graceful animals such as a cheetah or domestic cat. What similarities do the two prints have?