Alicia Farber

EDTE 228A-FA-03

Combined Arts Lesson

Grade Level: First Grade

Time Frame: 30 minutes

+ possible 15 minutes for closure

Rain Orchestra

Topic: Visual arts and Music lesson including creating artwork using creative expression and use of body percussion to simulation a rainstorm.

Rationale: The visual arts offer aesthetic, creative, and intellectual dimensions. Working with primary and secondary colors will give students an understanding of color. An awareness of color, shape, and line also helps students develop visual literacy skills which are used throughout their lives. Creative expression is also important in self discovery as well as fostering self-esteem. Music promotes self-discovery while developing knowledge of rhythm, pitch, and beat with auditory and kinesthetic valuing for children. Music also invites and encourages creative expression.


Creative Expression:

Each student will mix secondary colors from primary colors when choosing non-toxic powder tempera paint (or chalk). (VA-Gr.1-2.2)

Each student will simulate a rainstorm by using body percussion. (M-Gr.1-2.4)

Aesthetic Valuing:

Students will discuss in pair-share their artwork after being placed in the rain and discuss what shapes, texture, lines, and colors were created. (VA-Gr.1-4.1)

Artistic Perception:

Students will perform simple patterns of rhythm and pitch, using beat. (M-Gr.1-1.1)

STRATEGY: Direct Instruction, Guided Discovery


Primary colors (red, yellow, blue)

Secondary colors (green, purple, orange)


Crescendo — a gradual increase in loudness or force.


Introduction: Pose the question: What are the sounds you hear when it rains? Can these sounds be made by using our hands and feet? Explain to the students that they will be creating the sounds of a rainstorm using their own hands and feet after they have completed the visual art portion of the lesson. The teacher will introduce the visual art activity to the students by showing them on that he/she has already completed.

Pupil Activity Sequence:

Activity 1:

  1. Students will help lay out newspaper on a flat surface such as the back counter or tables.
  2. The teacher will review primary colors and secondary colors and discuss how secondary colors can be made from mixing primary colors together.
  3. The teacher gives a short demonstration, which shows primary colors being mixed together, creating secondary colors.
  4. Each student is given one piece of heavy white construction paper.
  5. The teacher will model the appropriate behavior for gently shaking the dry tempera paint (or crushed chalk) from the shaker bottles.
  6. Students will take their paper to an area that is covered with newspaper. (If there is not enough space for all students, they can go to the tables in small groups.)
  7. Students choose one primary color to randomly sprinkle around their paper, creating a light layer over the entire sheet.
  8. Students choose another primary color (different than the first color they chose) to sprinkle lightly on their paper.
  9. Large trash bags, old vinyl tablecloth or a tarp should be laid on the ground outside in an area that will not be protected from the rain.
  10. Students lay their pictures paint/chalk side up in the rain on the plastic sheets.
  11. Depending on how hard it is raining, leave the pictures out in the rain until the desired effect is achieved. (Colors mixed, shapes formed, and some texture on the paper.)
  12. Bring the artwork inside to dry on a flat surface for the remainder of the day or over night.
  13. When the artwork is dry, the teacher will spray hairspray on the picture to help keep paint/chalk adhered to paper.

Activity 2:

  1. While the paintings are outside in the rain, invite students to sit in a circle on the carpet.
  2. The teacher tells students they are going to simulate a rainstorm.
  3. The class brainstorms sounds they hear during a rainstorm.
  4. The teacher will introduce the new vocabulary word, crescendo, to the class.
  5. The teacher starts the quiet sound of the rain by rubbing palms together in a back and forth motion.
  6. Students join in by following the actions of the teacher.
  7. The teacher progresses through the movements and sounds of the rainstorm, each action lasting 10-15 seconds. (tapping fingers together à snapping fingers à clapping hands à slapping thighs à stomping feet)
  8. The students watch the teacher and when he/she changes movements the students change their movement to match what the teacher is doing.
  9. The class practices all six movements starting from a quiet sound to a loud stomping sound.
  10. The teacher reverses the order of movements; stomping feet à slapping thighs à clapping hands à snapping fingers à tapping fingers together à rubbing palms together, returning to the quiet sounds of rain.
  11. When the storm is over, students rest their hands quietly in their laps.
  12. The class puts everything together to simulate a rainstorm from the quiet beginning to the loudest point and then returns back to the beginning sounds of the rainstorm when it is quiet. (Quiet à Loud à Quiet)

Closure: (Depending on how quickly the artwork dries, the closure may take place the following day.) All students will be engaged in the closing by working in pairs. Each student will first examine their own artwork looking at the color, shapes, lines, etc. Once they are finished, they will pair-share with their partner, by discussing the colors they started with, and the shapes, lines, texture, and color created in their artwork by the rain. They will also look at their partners work and tell them at least one thing they like about it.

Clean-up: Put all the paint away and clean up the newspaper from the counters and tables. Once all the paintings are brought in from outside, gather up the plastic sheets and properly dispose of, or save for future use. Gather all paintings once they have been completed and display on a bulletin board.

Assessment: During the closure, the teacher will listen to the discussions between partners for accurate and appropriate use and identification of the colors, shapes, lines, and texture they see in their artwork. The teacher will also look at the visual artwork and see if they created secondary colors from mixing primary colors together. The teacher will watch and listen during the simulation of the rainstorm to see that all students are participating and if they are able to keep with the beat, pitch and rhythm.


Extensions: This lesson could also be done without actual rain by using a spray bottle to spray water on the paper. If a spray bottle is used, the student could manipulate the spray, using a steady hard stream to a light mist, to achieve a desired affect. The student could also determine the amount of water that is used on his/her artwork which would affect the texture, lines, and shapes that are created. If the students have already learned to mix secondary colors from primary colors, the teacher could give them a variety of colors to choose from. Using a variety of colors would allow for unique color mixing and would develop a piece that is even more expressive and creative. If powder tempera paint is not allowed in your school, it can be substituted with crushed or powder chalk or baby powder that has been colored with powdered food coloring used for cake decorating.


University of Northern Iowa’s Camp Adventure Resource Card File