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Moscow’s Magnificent Domes

Onion domes, golden spires, and vivid colors! Find architectural gems in abundance in Moscow and other Russian cities.

  • Grade 6
    Grades 7 and 8
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. During an unit of study into the history of Russia, invite students to research Russian architecture, which is found in Moscow and across the country. Challenge students to find pictures of onion-shaped domes on buildings such as St. Basil’s Cathedral. Discuss the designs and patterns found in the domes.
    2. Challenge students to re-create the domes. Have them cover their work area with recycled newspaper. With Crayola® Tempera Paint begin by painting the a sky on a recycled cardboard box. Air-dry the paint.
    3. Design domes. On white construction paper, draw and color the city’s roofs and domes with Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils. Accent gold with Crayola Glitter Glue. Air-dry the glue.
    4. Cut out the skyline with Crayola Scissors. With Crayola Glue Sticks, attach the skyline to the blue background. On construction paper, draw and color small triangles to resemble the tops of spires. Glue them to the 3-D picture and trim them with glitter glue.
    5. Display student work in the classroom. Allow time for students to view and discuss the art, as well as how their research on Russia is reflected in the work.
  • Standards

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    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.

    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: Examine the interaction of human beings and their physical environment, the use of land, building of cities, and ecosystem changes in selected locales and regions.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of 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.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resource includes: Russian Kremlin by Meg Greene

    Encourage students to research other famous buildings in Moscow, such as the Kremlin which also contains unique onion domes and orthodox architecture. Compare and contrast the various architectural structures in Russia's capital city.

    Students expand their research into other Asian countries. How do the architectural styles in other Asian countries compare to Russia's?

    Investigate the materials used to create the architectural styles in Asia. How do these compare to materials used in the world today?

    Students research the history of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Who was the architect that designed the building? What other architects worked on the project? Why is this building one of the most recognized in the world?


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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