Units prepared by Shari Hofschire, Dr. Frances Thurber, and Dr. Joanne Sowell

UNIT THEME: Artists open a window into the natural world and help us to explore our relationship with nature.

GOALS AND OUTCOMES: (Based on the National Standards)
Content Standard 2
Using knowledge of structures and functions
Achievement Standard
K-4
Students use visual structures and functions of art to communicate ideas
5-8 Students employ organizational structures and analyze what makes them effective or not effective in the communication of ideas
9-12 Students demonstrate the ability to form and defend judgments about the characteristics and structures to accomplish commercial, personal, communal, or other purposes of art.

Content Standard 4
Understanding visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Achievement Standard
K-4
Students know that the visual arts have both a history and specific relationships to various cultures
5-8 Students analyze, describe, and demonstrate how factors of time and place influence visual characteristics that give meaning and value to a work of art
9-12 Students analyze relationships of works of art to one another in terms of history, aesthetics, and culture, justifying conclusions made in the analysis and using such conclusions to inform their own art making

Content Standard 6
Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines
Achievement Standard
K-4
Students identify connections between the visual arts and other disciplines in the curriculum
5-8 Students compare the characteristics of works in two or more art forms that share similar subject matter, historical periods, or cultural context
9-12 Students compare characteristics of visual arts within a particular historical period or style with ideas, issues, or themes in the humanities or sciences

KEY QUESTIONS:
Questions in parentheses are from the Prairie Visions Inquiry Chart. These general questions form a framework for designing questions more specific to each unit of instruction.
What human relationships with nature might be revealed in the art we will study? (How does art relate to life?)
How can my students explore how art reveals what humans value? (Why is this artwork important?)
How can art help students learn multiple points of view regarding an important issue? (Does this lesson encourage students to see a larger view of the world?)

KEY WORKS OF ART:
Nebraska Masterpieces: (Click on Reproduction for a printable version)

Keith Jacobshagen, Naming the Days (Rain in May, Platte Valley), 2000

Michael James, Momentum, 2003

Karen Kunc, Mars, 2005

LESSON IDEAS (SUB-THEMES):
1. Artists across time and place help us to understand human efforts to conquer the forces of nature, resulting in conflict between the two entities.
2. Artists across time and place help us to understand human efforts to be in harmony with nature, resulting in interdependence between the two entities.

LEARNING STYLES/DIFFERENTIATION:
This unit emphasizes:
Naturalist Intelligence
Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence
Visual/Spatial Intelligence

MORAL DIMENSIONS OF TEACHING:
John I. Goodlad (Editor), Roger Soder (Editor, Kenneth A. Sirotnok (Editor), The Moral Dimensions of Teaching, Josssey-Bass; New Ed edition (November 16, 1993).
This unit teaches students about the concept of stewardship for our environment. It also highlights the value of cooperation among members of a society who seek to respect and preserve their local and global environments.

LESSON 1:

Lesson Sub-Theme
: Artists across time and place help us to understand human efforts to conquer the forces of nature, resulting in conflict between the two entities.

Goals and Outcomes:
Students will understand that humans have held various views across time and place regarding the role of nature in the human environment.
Students will become aware that artists have explored human relationships with nature as a source for art content.
Students will identify art images that reflect humans in conflict with nature and analyze the images to understand the effects of human intervention on nature.
Students will identify art images that reflect humans in conflict with nature and analyze the images to understand the effects of nature's power over humans' lives.
Students will comprehend and experience the process of artists illustrating the dynamic relationship between humans and the global environment of planet Earth.

Key Questions:
How and why do artists use ideas about nature as content for their artwork?
What are some ways that artists convey the power of nature in their images?
What other elements are found in nature besides water and air?
How can I create meaningful artwork reflecting my ideas about human relationships with our contemporary environment?
What would the world be like if humans were successful in harnessing the forces of nature?

Key Works of Art:

J.M.W.Turner, Stormy Sea with Blazing Wreck, ca.1840

Casper David Friedrich, Polar Sea, 1824

Hokusai, The Great Wave, ca. 1829

Larry Ferguson, Iceberg, Antarctica, 2004

Winslow Homer, The Coming Storm, 1901

Thomas Hart Benton, The Storm, 1944

John Steuart Curry, Tornado Over Kansas, 1949

Noel Harding, Elevated Wetlands, 1999

Walter de Maria, Lightning Field, 1977

Biosphere 2, Tucson, AZ

Lesson Narrative:
Teacher preparation: The teacher will also download and print two sets of imagery using the images from Turner, Friedrich, Ferguson and Hokusai (all three images deal with water as a major force in nature). The teacher then will download and print two sets of imagery using the images from Homer, Curry, and Benton (all three images deal with air or wind as a major force in nature).

Teacher presentation: Explain to students how humans need air and water in order to survive, and that nature provides our world with both of these elements. Nature can also use these same forces to put the lives of humans in danger. Present the photographic image created by Larry Ferguson.
Ferguson says "Icebergs are heroic in scale, rising straight up out of the water." This one is about 300 feet long, with 60 feet of it out of the water and about 200 underwater. This iceberg could disintegrate into a thousand pieces or it could turn over again and capsize the photographer's boat.
What do you see in this work? Is there any real object represented? Is it represented realistically or is it more abstract?
How can you judge the size and scale of an object? How big do you think this iceberg actually is?

Large group discussion: Students will discuss the imagery in his photograph in terms of what it teaches humans about the relationship of humans to nature. Students should be encouraged to pay attention to how water and air are key elements in the image. Check to see that students understand the actual size of the iceberg shown in the photograph.

Group activity: The teacher will divide the class into four groups. Two of the four groups will review the Water imagery packets, and two groups will analyze the works of art from the Air imagery. After using the Key Questions as a guide for discussion, each group will share their interpretations of the images with the rest of the class.

Individual art making task: Students will paint a landscape as a means of expressing how nature interacts with our contemporary environment (Option: after looking at some of J.M.W. Turner's atmospheric watercolors and discussing how he used the art medium of watercolor to add atmosphere to each of his paintings). Subject matter showing human's conflicted relationship with nature might include images of global warming, pollution, disappearance of the rain forest and several important species of living things, the construction of dams and skyscrapers, or ideas about recovery after major storms or earthquakes, etc. Students will display their paintings in an appropriate space in the classroom or school.

Teacher preparation: The teacher will download and print or project the images by Walter de Maria and Noel Harding, and print or project images from Biosphere 2.

Large group discussion: The teacher will introduce the art work of de Maria and Harding, indicating that these two contemporary artists are attempting to harness the forces of nature and to also make commentary about the consequences of human intervention in the ebb and flow of natural forces in the environment. After studying these two artistic commentaries, students will brainstorm ideas about how they might create installations or other art forms that would make similar commentary about how humans have an impact on nature as well as nature having an impact on humans. For example, they might envision creating a space such as the experimental biosphere environment created in Tucson. Show students the images from the biosphere project and briefly relate the history, evolution, and current history of the project.

Individual writing task: Each student will briefly describe his or her own idea(s) about creating a nature-interactive space based on the previous discussion by the whole group.

Instructional Strategies:
Teacher Presentation
Large Group Discussion
Group Activity
Individual Art Making Task
Large Group Discussion
Individual Writing Task

Assessment Strategies:
Formative Assessment - Teacher will check for understanding as the previously described performance tasks are completed.

Summative Assessment - Did students understand how artists have explored the notion of humans' conflicted relationship with nature? Were the students able to identify an environmental space and successfully complete a painting that illustrates human encounters with the forces of nature? After completing both lessons 1 and 2, could students compare and contrast these works of art with the imagery about interdependence explored in Lesson 2?

Interdisciplinary Links:
Science and Environmental engineering - Study in what ways humans have attempted to harness the powers of nature around the world and what consequences have resulted (destruction of the rain forest, building of dams, etc.).
Social studies - Students can research other global cultures, studying their climate, topography, natural resources, etc. and view visual art and artifacts from that region. What issues from nature may be affecting the motifs and media found in their art?

Resources and Materials:
Information about landscape art:
http://www.nga.gov/education/american/landscape.shtm

J.M.W.Turner
http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/turner/

http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/turner/

Casper David Friedrich
http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/friedrich_caspar_david.html

http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/friedrich

Thomas Hart Benton
http:// www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/benton_thomas_hart.html

http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/benton/

John Steuart Curry
http://xroads.virginia.edu/~am482_04/am_scene/curryinfo.html

http://wwar.com/masters/c/curry-john_steuart.html

Walter de Maria
http://www.guggenheimcollection.org/site/artist_bio_37.html

Artists whose work reflects the notion of humans in a struggle with the power of nature or humans who seek to harness the forces of nature include:
J.M.W.Turner, Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry, Casper David Friedrich, Hokusai, Winslow Homer, Noel Harding, and Walter de Maria.

The following websites contain other appropriate units of instruction that can expand, extend, or support big ideas presented in this lesson:
Folktales and Ecology: Animals and Humans in Cooperation and Conflict
http://edsitement.neh.gov/view_lesson_plan.asp?id=380
Life in the Floating World: Ukiyo-e Prints
http://edsitement.neh.gov/view_lesson_plan.asp?id=611

The Crayola website for teachers offers several hundred sample lessons for teachers including many about artists and their work, nature and the environment, and weather and the seasons. Viewers may be asked to sign in to access the lesson information, but registration is free.
Looking Inside the Earth
Above and Below the Pond
Log Cabin in a Thunderstorm
Tracking Birds with Audubon
(Type the title of the lesson into the "keyword search box" on the index page)
http://www.crayola.com/educators/lesson_plans/index.cfm

Art Materials:
several sheets of sketch paper (newsprint) per student
12 x 18" heavy white drawing paper
3 watercolor brushes (small, medium, large) per student
1 water container per student
palette containing watercolor paints (red, blue, yellow, brown, black)
pencils and erasers
colored pencils

LESSON 2:

Lesson Sub-Theme: Artists across time and place help us to understand human efforts to be in harmony with nature, resulting in interdependence between the two entities.

Goals and Outcomes:
Students will understand that humans have held various views across time and place regarding the role of nature in the human environment.
Students will become aware that artists have explored human relationships with nature as a source for art content.
Students will identify art images that reflect humans in harmony with nature and analyze the images to understand the effects of human's interdependence with nature.
Students will comprehend and experience the process of artists illustrating how interdependent human intervention can be a positive force in society-both locally and globally.

Key Questions:
What is nature?
What is the role of nature in maintaining human environments?
How do artists express human interdependence with nature?
How do artists voice concern regarding human efforts to disrupt the natural operations of nature?
What media and techniques can I learn from artists to express my views and feelings about nature?

Key Works of Art:
Keith Jacobshagen, Naming the Days (Rain in May, Platte Valley, 2000)
James Turrell, Sky Space, 2001 (Compare to Jacobshagen)

Michael James, Momentum, 2003
Andy Goldsworthy, Dandelion Line, 2000, Storm King Sculpture Park, New York

Karen Kunc, Mars, 2005
Stan Herd, Countryside, 1994
http://www.stanherdart.com/PF_countryside.htm

http://www.stanherdart.com/PF_countryside_detail.htm
Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, 1970

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Peasants Under the Trees at Dawn, Morvan, 1840-45
Jaune Quick-to-see-Smith, Salmon Jumping, 2003

(Note: all or some of the above artist groupings can be used for this lesson depending on time allotted for the lesson and the number and age of students.)

Lesson Narrative:
Teacher preparation: Download and make copies of each image that you have chosen to use in your lesson while maintaining the artist groupings listed above.

Teacher presentation: The teacher will ask students if they can define the word "nature." He or she will focus on nature as being a condition of all observable phenomena of the material universe excluding artificial or humanly constructed objects or processes. After a brief discussion, he or she will ask students to reflect on whether "nature" is a friend or foe to human beings. Students will share their ideas with a partner seated next to them. The teacher will summarize some of the characteristics humans often think of when dealing with nature: constant change, timelessness, chaos, fleetingness, symbiosis or interdependence. On the other hand, attributes focused on human endeavors have often included some "opposite qualities"-like stability, permanence, time, order, and power. Can we find these same opposing qualities in nature itself? The teacher will introduce several artists from the Key Works of Art who try to present the world as a harmonious place for nature and humans to co-exist. Also, refer back to artists' work that reflected conflict between the forces of nature and human lives. Use the "Study this Work of Art" section from the back of the posters for Michael James, Keith Jacobshagen, and Karen Kunc to familiarize the students with the art works in the Nebraska Masterpieces series.

Small group discussion: After being introduced to all the key works of art by the teacher, groups of students will carefully look at one previously suggested grouping of artists from the following "points-of-view:"

Group activity: Students will use digital, disposable, or Polaroid cameras to identify, record, and document environmental problems that they find in their own school or community, drawing on the ideas they learned from studying the artists' approaches to making art. They might choose to take pictures of humans-and-nature relationships that are interdependent and working, or those that are not currently harmonious.

Individual art making task: "Think Globally, Act Locally" Students will sketch ideas for, then paint, a second landscape image (see Lesson 1) to express how positive human intervention might improve their contemporary environment. Humans' interdependence and positive intervention might include images of gardening or reforestation, restoration of water from a state of pollution to viability, conservation of natural resources, cleaning up debris, local efforts to curb global warming, etc. Refer back to Stan Herd's Countryside installation, a massive garden of beauty located near a very large urban center, and reflect on how he used his work of art as a social commentary on urban sprawl and consumerism.

Individual writing task: Each student will prepare a brief "artist's statement" describing the key environmental issue in their photograph(s) and explaining how and why he or she chose the solution reflected in the his or her painting. This statement will be hung next to the painting and photos wherever the art works are displayed in the school or community.

Teacher presentation: The teacher will introduce students to the artwork of Jaune Quick-to-see Smith and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. He or she will explain to students that although these artists existed over one hundred years apart from one another, they were both concerned with establishing a sense of harmony between natural forces and human beings. Ask students to discuss in what ways did the two artists use similar techniques to show this harmony, and in what ways did they use a different approach in their paintings about humans and nature.

Lesson Extension: Other sources of art for the lesson might also include: Chinese landscapes, ancient architecture, Native American totems, native clothing, and ancient earthworks

Instructional Strategies:
Teacher Presentation
Small Group Discussion
Group Activity
Individual Art Making Task
Individual Writing Task

Assessment Strategies:
Formative Assessment - Teacher will check for understanding as the previously described performance tasks are completed.

Summative Assessment - Did students understand how artists have explored the notion of interdependence with nature? Could students compare and contrast these works of art with the imagery about conflict and nature explored in Lesson 1? Were the students able to identify and document an environmental issue and successfully complete a painting that illustrates positive human intervention on the situation in nature?

Interdisciplinary Links:
Science and Environmental engineering- Study in what ways humans have harnessed the powers of nature around the world (desalinization, wind power, water power, non-fossil fuels, etc.) for the common good
Social studies - Students can research other global cultures, studying their climate, topography, natural resources, etc. and view visual art and artifacts from that region. What issues from nature may be affecting the motifs and media found in their art?

Resources and Materials:
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
http://www.artchive.com/artchive/C/corot.html

http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/corot_jean-baptiste-camille.html

Andy Goldsworthy
http://www.nga.gov/kids/scoop-goldsworthy.pdf
Video: Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time, 2000
By Thomas Riedelsheimer (Available: www.amazon.com)

Jaune Quick-to-see Smith
http://www.nmwa.org/collection/profile.asp?LinkID=421

http://www.flomenhaftgallery.com/artists/Jaune_Quick-to-See Smith.htm

Robert Smithson
http://www.robertsmithson.com/

http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/smithson_robert.html

James Turrell
http://www.artnet.com/artist/16896/james-turrell.html

http://www.henryart.org/skyspace.htm
http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/turrell/

Artists whose work addresses the notion of humans living in harmony with nature and humans who seek to be interdependent with nature include: Andy Goldsworthy, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Jaune Quick-to-see-Smith, Robert Smithson, James Turrell, and Stan Herd.

The following websites contain other appropriate units of instruction that can expand, extend, or support big ideas presented in this lesson:
Art and Ecology: http://www.nga.gov/education/classroom/art_and_ecology/index.shtm
Painting Weather:
http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/content/2223/
Using Photography to Save Oceans: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/lessons/18/g35/doubiletphoto.html
Landscape: Artists Who Loved the Land:
http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/educators/lesson_plans/landscape_painting/index.html
The Crayola website for teachers offers several hundred sample lessons for teachers including many about artists and their work, nature and the environment, and weather and the seasons. Viewers may be asked to sign in to access the lesson information, but registration is free.
Lifesaving Layers-Earth's Atmosphere
Weather Quilt
(Type the title of the lesson into the "keyword search box" on the index page)
http://www.crayola.com/educators/lesson_plans/index.cfm

Art Materials:
cameras and imaging-making supplies
several sheets of 9x12" sketch paper (newsprint) per student
12 x 18" heavy white or gray drawing paper
3 watercolor brushes (small, medium, large) per student
1 water container per student and a palette containing watercolor paints
drawing pencils, colored pencils, and erasers

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