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Prancing Prints

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

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Invite students to study photos of horses and work of painter Susan Rothenberg. Encourage students to observe horses trotting and in other gaits to see how their legs move and their bodies are positioned. If possible view videos of horses running with the class and slow the motion of the video to share the movements of these animals when running. Have students discuss what they see. Take notes on their contributions using Crayola Dry-Erase Markers on a class room white board.
    2. Organize a variety of text and electronic resources for students to peruse while investigating the professional work and life of Susan Rothenberg. Encourage them to discuss with classmates their interpretation of how the artist creates movement in her subjects. Allow time for students to sketch a moving horse and its surroundings. Supply each student with white paper and Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils for this task.
    3. With Crayola Scissors, students trim the edges from a recycled foam produce tray in order to create a flat printing plate. Students draw horse picture on the tray, pressing hard with a ball-point pen. Scribe the drawing deeply into the foam.
    4. In order to create a paint palette, provide each student with a recycled file folder. Ask students cover their work area with recycled newspaper.
    5. To create a "rainbow roll" students pour a thin ribbon of Crayola Washable Paint onto the file folder. Suggest they pour several colors next to each other. Using a brayer, students roll out the paint on the folder, moving in the same direction as the paint was poured it, so the paint doesn't blend together very much.
    6. Apply the paint to the printing plate with brayers.
    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. The horse drawing will show as white lines in a field of color. Allow time to dry.
    8. While paintings are drying, ask students to compose a descriptive paragraph focused on the action in their paintings. Display paintings with student writing on a classroom bulletin board.
  • Standards

    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.

    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.

  • Adaptations

    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?


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