Students learn how objects can represent an idea (or serve as symbols), and they focus on the Renaissance as a period in which artists often used symbols to tell a story or convey a message. During discussion, students learn how objects can serve as symbols, conveying specific meanings that an artist wants to share. While making art, they use symbols to create an artwork with personally significant meaning. Students finish with colored pencils.


3rd Grade

Scope & Sequence:

Lesson 1: Students are introduced to the ‘Drawing ABC’s’, then create a ‘Deck of Symbols’ that introduces them to 13th-16th century symbology.

Lesson 2: Students decide on a story or experience that they want to depict, and they brainstorm meaningful symbols for their image. 

Lesson 3: Students take the story/symbols that they roughed out during lesson 2 and they create a drawing using them.

Lesson 4: In this lesson, student artists color their compositions using colored pencils. They have two days to complete.

Lesson 5: Allow a fifth day entirely for finishing and refining work.

(you can preview the first lesson in a project without enrolling by clicking on ‘lesson 1’ above).


The above will take you to a supply list that assumes a class size of 30. Adjust according to your needs. 

Books & Media:
Lesson 2: (optional) The Clip Art Book : A Compilation of More Than 5,000 Illustrations and Designs by Gerard Quinn (Or use a similar book with line-based images for students to copy.)

Art Elements: 

Line, shape/form, color


National Core Visual Art Standards:

VA:Cr1.1.3a, VA:Cr1.1.4a, VA:Cr1.1.5a, , VA:Cr2.3.5a, VA:Cr3.1.3a, VA:Cr3.1.5a, 
VA:Re.7.1.5a, VA:Re.7.2.3a, VA:Re.7.2.4a, VA:Re.7.2.5a, VA:Cn11.1.3a, VA:Cn11.1.4a


Language Arts (potential of linkage to plays or studies on other Renaissance subject matter) Science (could look at the properties of the pigments that Renaissance artists used) Music (could connect to Renaissance music) Geography (could look at European culture and how it was influenced by location)


Common Core Standards: 

SL.3.1b, SL.4.1b, SL.5.1b, SL.3.1, SL.4.1c,  SL.5.1c, SL.3.2, SL.3.4, SL.4.4, SL.4.5, SL.5.5,  

SL.3.6, W.4.1d, W.5.1d, W.3.2d 

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