Kari Kennedy

Grade Level: Second Grade

Time Frame: 50 minutes


TOPIC: This is a visual arts lesson featuring individual artwork that is constructed using cut pieces of colored paper, tempera paint, and raw vegetables to create a print.

RATIONALE: Patterns are found in art, nature and our environment. Recognition of patterns is key in problem solving strategies and in organizing thoughts. This visual art lesson provides students the opportunity to experience recognition and construction of patterns. The use of color has a profound influence on our emotions. This lesson will help students to understand how the use of cool and warm colors makes them feel.


Artistic Perception: Students will identify the elements of line, shape, texture, and space in Matisse’s masterpiece, Vegetables. (VA-Gr.2-1.3) Students will perceive and discuss difference in mood created by warm and cool colors.

(VA-Gr.2-1.2) Students will perceive and describe repetition and balance in Mattise’s masterpiece, Vegetables. (VA-Gr.2-1.1)

Creative Expression: Each student will create a unique print using vegetable stencils and tempera paints applied to grid like pattern formed from cut pieces of paper. Students will choose either a warm or a cool color scheme.

(VA-Gr.2-2.1, 2.2, 2.4)

Historical and Cultural Context: In a whole group discussion students will look at a reproduction of Vegetables and share their responses. Responses will be recorded on chart paper and key vocabulary words will be highlighted. Information about this masterpiece and the artist will be shared with the whole group. (VA-Gr.2-3.1, 3.2)

Aesthetic Valuing: Students compare ideas expressed through their own artwork with the ideas expressed in the work of others using Think-Pair-Share strategy. (VA-Gr.2-4.1, 4.3)

STRATEGY: A combination of direct instruction, whole group discussion, and guided discovery will be used.


VOCABULARY: design, shape, cool colors, warm colors, pattern, texture, and mood.

Design: The way the pieces are arranged on the page.

Shape: The form the objects look like.

Cool Colors: Colors that make you feel cool: blue, green, violet.

Warm Colors: Colors that make you feel warm: red, yellow, orange.

Pattern: Something that is repeated in a predictable way.

Texture: The way something feels or looks like it would feel: smooth, bumpy, soft, hard, etc.

Mood: The way something makes you feel: happy, sad, warm, cold, etc.



Introduction: Explain to students that today they will be learning about a famous artist. Ask students if they know the name of any artist. Tell students that art is an important part of our culture because we can learn many things from studying art. Display a poster with the reproduction of Vegetables. Conceal the title of the art with a sticky note. Have children look at the reproduction and share their personal responses to the artwork. Encourage observations with open-ended questions such as:

Record all responses and observations on a large piece of chart pad paper. Post the paper alongside the poster. Use a highlighter to note key vocabulary words. Add vocabulary words to be introduced in this lesson and define those terms for students. Ask students if they can explain what a pattern is. Explain to students that patterns are found art, nature, and our environment. Show them the patterns in Vegetables. Tell them that today they are going to have the opportunity to make their own patterns. Point out the use of warm colors in Vegetables. Ask the students if they think they know which colors are cool and which colors are warm. Show some examples of cool colors and warm colors.

J Teaching Tip: You may want to use visuals such as a warm colored blanket to show warm and an ice-cold glass of blue colored beverage to show cold.

Conclude this session by sharing with children any information you have gathered about Matisse, this piece and related works.

Explain to the children that they will be putting together their own print using cut blocks of color and real vegetable stamps. Share with students what is expected from them for this activity. Demonstrate the process by making a model print in front of the students. Check for understanding.

Set-Up: Have key steps written on the board. Divide the students into two groups. One will use a cool colored background and one will use a warm colored background. Pair students up so each pair has one doing cool colors and one doing warm colors. Have two workstations set up: one for cool and one for warm.

  1. Enlist the aid of students in distributing the materials. Each student will receive a cool packet or a warm packet of colored paper pieces, a white piece of construction paper, and a glue stick.
  2. Once all the supplies are passed out and students are ready with their smocks or painting shirts on, demonstrate arranging pieces on a page. Working at their desks students will arrange their blocks of color to fit on their page and glue them on. When they are ready for the next step they will go to the workstations and do the printing. Students will wear their smocks for this activity. Have them practice dipping a vegetable into paint and pressing firmly on the practice sheet.
  3. When the students feel comfortable printing, have them create a pattern onto the blocked background using the vegetable stencils. Don’t forget to have students write their names on their work.

J Teaching Tip: You may consider playing music during this time to enforce the idea of rhythm in patterns.

CLOSURE: Think-Pair-Share-Square. Have students pair up with someone who has the opposite color scheme. Direct the students to look at each others work and discuss the similarities and differences. Have them describe each other’s patterns. Have them group up in fours and do the same. If you use journals in your class, make sure they include their findings in their journals.

ASSESSMENT: The teacher will listen for appropriate connections and solicit ideas from students during the discussion of Matisse's Vegetables. Teacher will listen to each group during their think-pair-share for appropriate use of key vocabulary words (cool, warm, pattern, design, shape, repetition, balance) and ideas about how the painting makes the student feel, what the designs look like to them, recognition of patterns. The teacher will also listen for students' comments on how other students' vegetable prints are similar or different from their own. The teacher will review the chart paper record for students' comments and responses. The teacher will look at each completed vegetable print for pattern in background, pattern with vegetables, and appropriate use of a warm or cool color scheme.

CLEAN UP: Each student will bring his artwork to the drying area. Put names of student helpers on white board. Assigned students will collect vegetables in trashcans, paint blots in trashcans, paints in tubs, and wipe down workstations. Individual artwork will be displayed in classroom.


PREPARATION: Have the stations set up in advance. Cover the tables with newspaper and arrange the paints and vegetables in groupings. You may want to cut the vegetables ahead of time but have the knife and cutting board available to the teacher.

J Teaching Tip: Keep at least one of each of the vegetables whole so the students can see it in both forms. This is particularly helpful it you are going to use this lesson as a segue to a lesson in nutrition.

EXTENSIONS: This lesson can be adapted to K-1 by eliminating the first part of placing the block pattern. It can be utilized in cross-curriculum lessons. For example for a lesson in music children could clap out the beat of the patterns that they made with the vegetable stamps. To take it to the next level the students could use vegetables, gourds, beans, peas, etc., to make instruments and then follow the rhythm patterns they made in their prints. In a language arts lesson, students could use the pattern of the vegetables they used to construct a poem. This lesson could easily integrate with math and nutrition as well.

J Teaching Tip: As a special bonus the artwork could be laminated and used as place mats then given to parents for a special occasion or holiday.


REFERENCE: Exploring Art Masterpieces with Young Learners, Rhonda Graff Silver, Scholastic Professional Books, 1996.