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Shaping Up With Picasso

Invite students to look at the world like Pablo Picasso did, analyzing geometric patterns. Create a Cubist still life, focusing on the shapes seen from one's Picasso viewpoint.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Invite students to look at one of Picasso's early Cubist works, such as "Pot, Glass and Book", or "Green Pan and Black Bottle." Encourage them to find geometric shapes in the paintings. Provide various texts for students to view focused on Picasso's life and career. This may be done individually or in small teams.
    2. Arrange a simple still life on a table with objects that interest the age group. Provide time for student groups to view and discuss the still life. What aspects of Picasso's style do they see in the still life?
    3. Students investigate geometric shapes in the still life. Describe them to each other. Encourage them to make connections between what they are seeing and their research.
    4. Students draw these geometric shapes, using a different color Crayola® Oil Pastel for each shape. Complex forms, such as a teddy bear, will have several geometric shapes, each in a different color of pastel.
    5. Students cover their work area with recycled newspaper. Wet one completed object with a Crayola Paint Brush and clear water. Then fill a brush with one color of Crayola Washable Watercolors and paint the wet surface. The wash will unify the individual geometric shapes into a recognizable whole.
    6. The remaining objects can be filled with a wash of watercolor.
  • 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: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    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: Understand that attributes belonging to a category of two-dimensional figures also belong to all subcategories of that category.

    MATH: Classify two-dimensional figures in a hierarchy based on properties.

    MATH: Analyze patterns and relationships.

    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: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

    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.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail by Laurence Anholt; Who Was Pablo Picasso? by True Kelley; Pablo Picasso: Breaking All the Rules by True Kelley; Paris in the Spring with Picasso by Joan Yolleck; Cubism by Linda Bolton;

    Students investigate the life and career of Pablo Picasso. Focus on the evolution of Cubism during this artist's life. What other artists followed in Picasso's footsteps? Students prepare an electronic presentation for classmates.

    Students work in teams of two to create a portrait of a teammate using Picasso's techniques.


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