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Watercolor Windmills

The iconic blue toned Delft pottery of the Netherlands is delicate, eye catching, and finely detailed. In this lesson, students create their own designs on unbreakable paper plates.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Share examples of Delft pottery from the Netherlands (real or images) with the class. Have students identify commonalities between the pieces (tones of blue, windmills, canals, tulips and other flowers, designs, etc.).
    2. Provide students with a piece of scrap paper, a pencil, and Crayola® Watercolor Paints and brushes. Encourage students to sketch out a few deigns they would like to incorporate into their own “pottery” and practice using the paints with more and less water and black and white to achieve different tones, tints and shades (this practice can be done in any color).
    3. Distribute a paper plate to each student. Have them paint a central landscape which incorporates a canal or windmill or both using a variety of blue tones. When the center has been painted, students can paint the edges using a repeating pattern and radial symmetry.
    4. Display together on plate stands or on a bulletin board.
  • Standards

    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.

    MATH: Generate and analyze patterns.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture.

    SS: Explore ways that language, art, music, beliefs, and other cultural elements may facilitate global understanding or lead to misunderstanding.

    VA: Use different media, techniques and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Explore and understand prospective content for works of art.

    VA: Know that visual arts have both a historical and specific relationship to various cultures.

  • Adaptations

    Have students choose their favorite color and do their own version of delft pottery and create an argument for why they feel their color makes a better choice.

    Present other cultural examples of pottery or plates (Greek Doric design, Mexican Talavera, Islamic Pottery, etc.). Compare and contrast styles of different cultures, discuss what they enjoy more or less.

    Have students create half of a plate’s pattern and then switch with a friend to complete using symmetry.

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