Russian Imperial Eggs

Russian Imperial Eggs lesson plan

Imagine the splendor of Imperial Russia! Recreate this lavish era with a jeweled egg crafted in the style of Fabergé.

  • 1.

    Imagine receiving a specially made, one–of-a-kind jeweled present every year. For Easter, Nicholas II, the last czar of the Russian empire, gave his wife and mother each such a gift, a bejeweled egg. Easter is an important holiday for the Russian Orthodox people and these eggs reflected that significance. Made by the French goldsmith and jeweler, Peter Carl Fabergé, the eggs were gilded, enameled gold. Besides jewels, often they had small portraits of family members or religious figures drawn on them. Some even opened with more jewels and figurines inside.

  • 2.

    The Russian Revolution in 1917 put an end to this lavish gift giving. Although similar eggs are made today, there were not many Imperial eggs made and most of those are in a collection in Moscow. Twelve are on display in New York City. Queen Elizabeth of England is a big collector too. Invite students to work in small groups to investigate the history of Fabergé eggs. Provide a vareity of text and electronic resources for students to view during this research.

  • 3.

    Once research is complete, students will design their own eggs. Form Crayola Model Magic® into an egg. Air-dry it at least 24 hours.

  • 4.

    Students add embellishments to the eggs with Crayola Glitter Glue. Attach decorative craft items such as jewels and foil. Many eggs included the Czarina’s monogram or an important date.

  • 5.

    Students roll Model Magic around three toothpicks. Air-dry the legs.

  • 6.

    Students cover their work areas with recycled newspaper. Paint the legs with gold Crayola Premier™ Tempera Paint. Paint the bottom of the egg if so desired. Air-dry the paint.

  • 7.

    Secure the legs to the egg with Crayola School Glue. Air-dry before setting up a glittering display with classmates’ eggs for all to see!

Standards

  • LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.
  • LA: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
  • SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.
  • SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.
  • SS: Recognize and give examples of the tensions between the wants and needs of individuals and groups, and concepts such as fairness, equity, and justice.
  • VA: Select media, techniques, an processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of choices.
  • VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.
  • VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.
  • VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.
  • VA: Describe ways in which the principles and subject matter of other disciplines taught in the school are interrelated with the visual arts.

Adaptations

  • Possible classroom resources include: Faberge's Eggs: The Extraordinary Story of the Masterpieces That Outlived an Empire by Toby Faber; Faberge Eggs : A Book of Ornaments by Ellen Rosefsky Cohen; Easter Eggs for Anya: A Ukrainian Celebration of New Life in Christ by Virginia Kroll; The Birds' Gift: A Ukrainian Easter Story by Eric A. Kimmel
  • Students research the process of enameling. Investigate other cultures that make enamelware. How do they use this process? On what do they practice and prepare?
  • Many cultures adorn eggs, including ostrich eggs. Students create a display of international egg artistry, such as the Ukrainian Pysanky.
  • Encourage students to research the events leading up to the Russian Revolution and the de-throning of Czar Nicholas. What caused the people of Russia to revolt? What type of government emerged once the revolution was drawing to a close? How does that government compare to the government in your country?
  • Anastasia, one of Czar Nicholas' daughters, was thought to have survived the final attack on the family. Research the history of Anastasia. What do you think?
  • Investigate the Czars of Russia. Who were the most beloved by the Russian people? How did these leaders provide for their people? How did they fail to provide for the people?