Tuesday, January 4, 2011

greek and roman pottery design lesson plan

Krater (mid - 5th Century BC) may be viewed at the Saint Louis Art Museum.
Left, Teacher sample drawing of Greek pottery. Right, A second sample of the assignment using a
portrait design typically found on Greek pottery.

Type of Lesson Plan: Object-based Lesson Plan/Reading Comprehension (Integrated Studies)
Topic: Greek/Roman pottery design
  • Students identify design and pattern common to ancient Greek pottery.
  • Students participate in meaningful drawing activities that reflect their willingness to communicate art concepts they have learned through observation.
  • Students actively participate in larger classroom discussions involving art aesthetics.
  • Students will be able to identify the general characteristics of Greek designs in pottery when asked questions and shown slides/pictures.
  • Students will be able to produce a contour drawing of a Greek inspired pot.
Missouri Show-Me Standards: FA 2, FA 1, FA 3
Strand I: Product/Performance – Communicate ideas about subject matter and themes in artworks created for various purposes
C. Grade 6 – Create an original artwork that communicates ideas about the following theme
  • Functions of Art in Culture
  • Personal Identity
Strand II: Elements and Principles – Select and use elements of art for their effect in communicating ideas through artwork
A. Grade 6 – Identify and use converging lines and Identify and use contour lines to define a complex object
A. Grade 7 – Identify and use rhythmic lines
A. Grade 8 – Identify and use varied line quality
Strand III: Artistic Perceptions – Investigate the nature of art and discuss responses to artworks
A. Grade 6 – Discuss how different cultures have different concepts of beauty and explain how responses to artworks from various cultures are based on both personal experience and group beliefs
Grade Level Targeted: Middle School (7-9)
Number of Class Periods: two, 55 minute class periods
Facility & Equipment Requirements:
  • Classroom
  • A computer for the slide show
Resources needed for teaching lesson:
  • Power point/slide show for Greek Pottery
  • Teacher’s sample of the art project
Materials Per Student:
  • A selection of black, gold, and orange construction paper
  • Large and fine tip black markers
  • White glue
  • Large stencils of Greek vessels
Vocabulary Terms: The following terms are applicable to identifying the designs found in Greek pottery. Because this particular lesson plan emphasizes Greek design found on pottery, the vocabulary normally associated with clay pottery assignments is not included. This art activity included for this lesson is 2-dimensional.
  1. wheelmade pottery - is thrown by hand on a potter's wheel that could be either manually or electrically powered.
  2. coil pot - is built with a series of layered rolls of clay built up to create a hollow form
  3. mould-made pottery - These pots are made by one of two methods: A potter may ''cast'' a molded pot by pouring a liquid clay into a ceramic mold. A potter may form by hand a slab of clay by shaping it around or inside of a stone mould (sometimes called a "Bat") constructed specifically for this purpose.
  4. Hydria shaped pot - was used for storing water
  5. Krater shaped pot - was used for mixing wine and water
  6. Amphora shaped pot - was primarily used for storage
  7. Greek key ornament – A geometrical ornament consisting of horizontal and vertical lines joined together at angles.
  8. Meander – is a decorative boarder based upon a repeated motif that has no beginning or ending to it
  9. Symmetryin design is a formal, balanced pattern whose sides, right and left, mirror each  another
Step-by-step activity: First I will share a power point (slide show) with my students before actively demonstrating the following art assignment. During this presentation the students will be asked to share their reactions and I will also teach them the vocabulary terms. 
  1. Students will design, draw, and cut one paper stencil of either a Hydria, a Krater, or an Amphora shaped pot. (additional stencil samples here)
  2. Then they will trace around this stencil on top of a large sized piece of black construction paper with a white colored pencil.
  3. Carefully, they will cut the shape out of the center of this black paper leaving behind a replica of their design when the black background paper is placed upon an orange or gold sheet of construction paper of the same large size. Remember, you do not want the shape to be black but the background to be black and the shape orange or gold.
  4. Carefully glue down the black paper to the orange sheet of construction paper.
  5. Then students should draw out a pattern reflecting the themes and tastes of Greek pottery in general with a black ink marker. They may choose to lightly draw their ideas out in pencil before “blacking in” the design.
Cleanup Time & Strategy: Students will be allotted five minutes to dispose of trash, wipe down tables and place their artwork on drying racks.
Assessment: I will be using an informal assessment and will also take notes during the completion of the projects. The grades will be posted online for the students and their parents to view at a private rubrics site hosted by their school district. Below is a list of criteria that I will be looking for while assessing the student's grades on this particular project:
  • The student was able to cut a reasonably accurate representation of a Greek pottery prototype out of construction paper and mount it to another paper surface.
  • The student successfully designed a Greek design inspired graphic and drew it with care onto his/her art project. If the student made alterations of his own and demonstrated his resolve to interpret the designs as his own, he is given a better grade.
  • The student demonstrated his knowledge of the vocabulary discussed during the power point presentation by conversing actively with the instructor and his peers when asked to.
  • The student turned their assignment in on time.
More art lesson plans about Greek and Roman Pottery:
All lessons copyrighted by Grimm, 2010
The above photograph is by the Saint Louis Art Museum, used by permission. 

This printable page of Decorative Elements Found on Greek Pottery may be printed out by teachers to share with students in their classrooms. I've included information below for each design numbered above. These descriptions may come in handy if your are thinking of adapting this lesson for older students.

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