Coldiron_MTV Strategies

Lesson 1 1st Grade Art: Intro to Ancient Architecture (See – Think – Wonder)

Lesson Objective: This lesson will introduce students to ancient architecture of Greece and the Mediterranean. The see, think, wonder exercise will help students to generate ideas for their own work through observation. Students will use their answers from the exercise to create a drawing and purpose of an ancient building.

Timing: This lesson will take approximately 50 minutes. However, there will be a follow up discussion as students start a final art work during the next class, based off the rough sketch they complete during this lesson.


3PE Examine one or more cultural and historical artworks and respond to the visual, expressive features in the work.

4PR Create an artwork based on observation of familiar objects and scenes.

2PR Invent imagery and symbols to express thoughts and feelings.

5RE Discuss the meanings of visual symbols, images and icons observed in artworks.


  • Teacher: White board, Projector, Dry erase marker, Large format images of Greek architecture and local architecture
  • Student: Mixed Media Paper 9X12in, Pencil, Color Pencils, Black Washable Marker

Setup: During this exercise, the teacher will record answers on the board in three columns See, Think, and Wonder, the teacher will draw the shapes students see over top of each images. After the See, Think and Wonder, process is complete the table of the week will pass out color pencils, paper and markers to students.


The Parthenon

Temple of Isis

City of Petra

See Images 1st A photo of the Parthenon 2nd An image of the Temple of Isis 3rd The city of Petra

  • What shapes do you see? Are there any shapes that are used in all the pictures? What color are the objects you see? What else do you see?


Brown County Court House

Ripley Mansion

The White House

Think Images 1st A photo of the Brown County Court House 2nd The Ripley Mansion 3rd The White House

These images share characteristics of Mediterranean architecture and may be recognizable to students. The think images will be shared after students have been asked about where or when they have seen buildings that look similar to the ones pictured in the see section.

  • What do you think about when you see them? What about the image makes you think that? Can you think of building like these that you’ve seen in real life? What might the building be made of?


  • Do you wonder anything about these buildings? What questions do you still have?

Discussion: What ideas do you have for creating your own ancient building? What would you use your building for?

The Three kinds of Greek columns Doric, Ionic, Corinthian


Informal: Students will use the examples given in the See, Think, Wonder exercise to create their own image of an ancient building; taking inspiration from the shapes, colors, and ideas of their classmates. Students will be asked to give their building a purpose answering what their building is used for by writing the answer on the back of their paper. Students should use symbols colors and shapes in their drawing that will help the viewer determine its function.

Formal: In the following lesson students will use their rough sketch to create a final ancient building painting made from outlining, cutting, and gluing their building to a secondary color study done earlier in the unit. Student will be asked to complete a small rubric rating their work from 1 to 4 on craftsmanship, creativity, and clean up. Followed by a one question short answer giving one example of how their painting compares to the ancient buildings studied.

Social Media:

Greek Architecture Flickr (Safe Search)

#MetKids—How Can I Recognize Ancient Greek Architecture?




Lesson 2 3rd Grade Art: Identifying Art Elements/Communicating through Art (Zoom In)

Lesson Objective: In this lesson students will hone their listening and use a full art vocabulary to communicate with a partner. They will use their imagination to fill in the blanks and create an independent piece of art. Student will learn to analyses  small areas of an art work paying close attention to the details within each area. As well as identify what art elements are used in a work.

Timing: This lesson was designed to take 50 minutes, one class period, giving 10 minutes for students to really study the image they plan to communicate, and 30 minutes to investigate and record findings of their art card. The remaining 10 minutes will be spent on answering follow up questions.


2PE Identify the relationships between and among selected elements and principles of art and design.

2PR Use appropriate visual art vocabulary during artmaking processes.

3PR Find and solve problems of personal relevance and interest when developing artmaking ideas.

6PR Collaborate with others to create a work of art that addresses an interdisciplinary theme.


  • Teacher: White board, dry erase maker, example large format art work card
  • Students: White construction paper 9X12in, Pencil, color markers, dry erase markers, notebook paper, post-it notes, and art work cards

Set up:

  • Teacher: Before the lesson the teacher will find famous works of art that challenge thinking and promote connections to the art elements covered within the unit. They will be printed in color and laminated.
  • Student: At the beginning of this exercise students will choose a partner and each will be given a card with a significant art work on it. Each student will write a list of steps to re-draw the work. One at a time students will guide the other in drawing the image stopping half way through their list of steps to allow their partner to record what they think they know about the drawing.

Example Art Card 1

Keith Haring, DJ

Example Art Card 2

Hokusai, The Great Wave off Kanagawa

Reveal: After each student has completed their drawing half way and recorded their thoughts their partner will reveal a quarter of the image to them.

Repeat: Students will record what they see and how it is the same or different from their original idea. They will make any needed changes to their work. Students will repeat this step three times until the full image is revealed.

Share: Students will be sharing their ideas with their partner throughout the process of creating and evaluating the art work. In addition students will discuss what they would change and what was successful when describing the art work for their partner.

Follow Up Activity: Students will use a dry erase marker to outline and point out the art elements they see in their revealed piece of art. Pointing out where they see value, texture, shapes, colors, line, space, and form.

A visual aid will be displayed to help students identify the elements of art on their art card, and to help promote the use of art vocabulary throughout class discussion.

Elements of Art

Assessment: Each partner will evaluate how well they themselves explained the first steps in the drawing giving themselves a rating of 1 through 4. Students will then write a short explanation about the difference between the verbal and visual information they were given. As well as what they thought they were drawing at each stage of their interpretations. At the bottom of their response they will give examples of three art elements they see on their art card, and explain where it is present in the original work. Students will finish the assignment by submitting their drawing and their written work.

Social Media:

Elements of Art Series, KQED Art School

Elements of Art (Line) Board, Pinterest


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  40. DrAnn says:

    Natasha, I agree with your class colleagues…. art should be taught from birth through adulthood! And, as a priority!!! (along with music).

    The See-Think-Wonder is perfect for the architecture lesson and the Petra example is sheer perfection. My kids’ father went to Petra and came back thinking of how awe inspiring it is. On another side note, I will never forget my daughter’s art assignment where we looked around the Cincinnati area for the various aspects of ancient architecture (pillars, etc.). It was such a good bonding moment for us and I saw things I had never noticed before.

    The links you provided enhanced your lessons in such a meaningful way. They really bring you lessons to life and will help other teachers do the same.

  41. Lauren Hickman says:

    Hi! I really liked your Lesson 1: Intro to Ancient Architecture. I can see the see-think-wonder strategy fitting perfectly with an art class! I thought it was interesting that you used three different pictures for the see and think part. What made you decide to do this? I can imagine students having a lot of really great ideas, maybe completing the see-think-wonder questions would be beneficial in having students also think about the differences in the images and why they saw, thought, or wondered different things for each set of pictures? I thought your video accompanying the lesson was great too! I assume young students would really enjoy seeing a young person in a video talking to them about the importance of art and architecture.

    • Natasha Coldiron says:

      Hi Lauren,
      I used three images in the See, Think, Wonder activity because I think it will benefit students to see ancient architecture done in different ways. Particularly I thought it would be interesting to see how they would react to the City of Petra as it is carved into a cliff, as opposed to the Parthenon that is made from stacked marble. In reference to the video I like to use art videos with children discussing art when ever I can. I feel that it helps build my students confidence in discussing art themselves, and helps remove the stuffiness that many art videos have. Thank you for your questions, I enjoyed sharing some of the ideas behind the lesson.

  42. irwinea says:

    Hi Natasha,

    Great ideas and lessons! After going all the way through my education from elementary through college and never having an art class, I am intrigued by it now and love reading this and seeing what you do in your art class.
    It’s been a while since I’ve been in the classroom teaching myself and about 4 years since in pubic education. Are the standards 2PE, 2PR 6PR etc for different grade levels? Do you have a link to the standards you use for art?


  43. Bobby Knurek says:

    I really like your ‘See-Think-Wonder’ lesson on Ancient Architecture! I think that it would be valuable in this particular topic for students to have a lot of time to just sit and look at the images. I think it is an interesting transition from the first 3 images to the second 3 images. I could imagine a lot of thoughts being jotted down during this activity.

    What I like most about your activity is the fact that anybody could participate in this conversation. Even though it is a 1st grade lesson plan, you could show these images to anybody (literally anybody!) and make the same connections with architecture. I’m sure your students will love this less; lower students and higher students will be able to participate equally in a meaningful conversation. Great lesson!

    • Natasha Coldiron says:

      Thank you Bobby. I have used exercises similar to the See, Think, Wonder strategy with older students in the past when introducing a new art form and it has seemed to work really well. I am excited to try this strategy with some of my younger students an see what kinds of responses I get. I’m sure that the conversation alone will take up most of the class time.

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