Art, Photography & Graphic Design

Index - Art, Photography & Design - Inquiry-based Projects

Listed at top are full format, formal LESSON PLANS.
Below are INQUIRY-BASED PROJECTS - adaptable to various grade levels.  Can be differentiated.  Many are interdisciplinary:  be sure to look in related subject area pages (listed at left) for more ideas.

Click Here for CURRICULUM STANDARDS to projects listed below.

Main Subject Area
Related Subject Areas
Prairie Texture Collage (DOC) LESSON PLAN - categorize, identify and create a collage of natural “found objects” of the prairie (grades K-1)
science, earth science
Illustrating Flint Hills Earth Cycles: 6-Panel Comic Strip  LESSON PLAN (grades 5-6)
science, earth science
Flint Hills art 
Art, painting
science, language arts
Flint Hills photographers
Art, photography
Language arts
Flint Hills Landscapes & Painting Plein Air 

Art and photography events
Art, painting, photography
Business, entrepreneurship, accounting; social studies, economics
Marketing Flint Hills art and photography
Illustrating the prairie
Art, illustration, art appreciation
Science, biology, geology
Illustrations of prairie insects
Art, illustration, drawing
Science, zoology
Portrait of Flint Hills bird, flower, grass or animal
Art, illustration, drawing
Science, botany, zoology
Color and value in local mammals, butterflies, birds, reptiles, and insects
Art, drawing, painting
Science, zoology
Marine fossils from inland sea era
Art, illustration, drawing, painting
Science, zoology
Prairie still life - natural objects
Art, drawing, painting, photography
Science, geology, zoology
Still life - objects from Cowboy/Cowgirl culture
Art, drawing, painting, photography
language arts, writing; social studies, sociology)
Portrait - Cowboy/Cowgirl
Art, drawing, painting, photography
Language arts, writing; social studies, sociology
Portrait - Horse with bridle, saddle, accessories
art, drawing, painting, photography
science, zoology
Antique car, tractor, farm implement
Art, drawing, painting, photography
language arts, writing; social studies, history
Illustrated advertisement for local tourism attraction
Art, graphic design
Illustrated map of local area
art, illustration and drawing
social studies, geography
Local structures of architectural or historic value
art, architecture
social studies, history
Textile folk art of quilting
art, textiles
social studies, history, sociology; family and consumer science; language arts, folklore, writing
Interpret a quotation about grasslands, beauty, and art
language arts, reading, writing
 23  Cowboy Arts art social studies, history, folklore


(Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Textiles, Photography, Illustration, Graphic Design, Architecture, Art Appreciation)
Any activities with blue links below – are fully-developed LESSON PLANS – click to link to lesson materials in Lesson Plans section. 

1. Prairie Texture Collage

In the Prairie Texture Collage (DOC) LESSON PLAN (grades K-1), students will categorize, identify and create a collage of natural “found objects” of the prairie - grasses and plant parts, soil, rocks, feathers, etc. (art; science, biology)

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2. Illustrating Flint Hills Earth Cycles: 6-Panel Comic Strip

Using the Illustrating Flint Hills Earth Cycles: 6-Panel Comic Strip LESSON PLAN (grades 5-6), students synthesize one of the 4 main Earth Cycles represented in the Exhibit, by creating a comic strip sequence of 6 features of the cycle, using comic/graphic art conventions of panel, caption, speech balloons, etc. (art; science, earth science)

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Bee on Flower

3. Flint Hills Art

Students will identify some Flint Hills artists of past and present.  Are any from your area? What media do they use? What are their subjects? Describe their different approaches to depicting the Flint Hills landscape. How would you describe their style? How are they marketing their work? Students will write a profile of their favorite Flint Hills artist. (art; science; language arts) See: Art in Your Town FH Masters (PDF)Art in FH:  2009 Contest Winners;  Maude Mitchell (Waub Co)2011 artists2012 artists: portraits of leadersRemingtonCoffeltPrairie Printmakers .  See also Flint Hills Info Resources:  Art - Flint Hills Masters  

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4. Flint Hills Photographers

Students will identify some prominent Flint Hills photographers. What techniques do they use? What are their subjects? How would you describe their styles? What are their different approaches to depicting the Flint Hills landscape? How are they marketing their work? Students will choose one photographer and write a review of his/her work and style. (art, photography; language arts) See:  Morrison advice; Flint Hills Info Resources: Photography Great Plains Photo Project-Flint Hills Images.  Related Lesson:  Beauty of the Flint Hills (about clean horizons, many under threat).

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5. Flint Hills Landscapes & Painting En Plein Air

Artists claim Flint Hills landscapes (wide views of natural scenery) are some of the most dreamlike and beautiful in the world, and many like to paint them en plein air (while outdoors). Students will define "landscape" and "en plein air" painting.  They will research how artists work en plein air, i.e. what equipment, sites, conditions are best to do en plein air painting? What plein air events are occurring in the Flint Hills region?
Students will paint or draw a wide view Flint Hills landscape, if possible en plein air! (art)  See:
 Louis Copt-Painting SeasonsLouis Copt-Prairie Seasons;  Flint Hills Info Resources:  Art Events - Plein Air  Related Lesson:  Beauty of the Flint Hills (about clean horizons, many under threat).

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6. Art & Photography Events

Students will research special events which feature art and photography of the Flint Hills. What sorts of events specialize in producing and featuring art and/or photography in the Flint Hills? Who sponsors these events, and why do they go to the trouble to do this? What is the connection of these art shows to the mission or purpose of the sponsoring organization? How do they contribute to economic development in the area? What makes the Flint Hills an appropriate subject for special art exhibitions? Do other regions of Kansas have such events? How does an artist apply for these events? Are they open to all? What are the criteria of the shows? What is a “juried process” and who are the “jurors”? Are there entry fees? Travel costs? What are the financial arrangements? Why would an artist do this? What benefits will the artist gain from being included in these events? The student will create a 2-column T-chart stating the costs and benefits to the artists of participating in these events. The student will create a 2-column T-chart stating the costs and benefits to the sponsoring organization in holding these events. (art, painting, photography; business, entrepreneurship, accounting; social studies, economics).  See:  Flint Hills Info Resources:  Art Events

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7. Marketing Flint Hills Art & Photography

Students will research markets and the marketing process for Flint Hills art and photography. What is the difference between a gallery and museum? Search for galleries in the Flint Hills. How would you categorize the types of galleries? Which have other purposes besides sale of art? What galleries are more for crafts and which are for fine arts such as paintings? What galleries specialize in Flint Hills artists and photographers? Where are they located? What are the business arrangements (i.e. gallery percentages) between artists and galleries? What are the overhead costs for galleries? What are the overhead costs for an artist (supplies, equipment, studio space, framing, shipping, etc.)? What are some festivals or art shows at which artists could market their work? What are booth costs at these markets? What Flint Hills artists are marketing through their own websites? Which sites are more effective and why? How do they arrange sales? Students will create a basic business marketing plan for an artist. (art; business)  See: Flint Hills Info Resources: Art Galleries, Artists-Marketing

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8. Illustrating the Prairie

Students will analyze techniques and styles of illustrators of books about the prairie and Flint Hills, esp. children’s books. What media do they utilize? How do they visually represent concepts from the text? How does the illustrator’s style affect his/her presentation of the subject? In what ways are their illustrations realistic or not? Students will choose a prairie life form and create their own prairie illustration. Then students will describe the style and techniques of a partner student. (art, illustration, art appreciation; science, biology, geology)  See Marybeth Lorbiecki Denise Fleming Krista Brauckmann-Towns Marianne Wallace

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9. Illustrations of Prairie Insects

Students will investigate the different orders of insects on the prairie:  appearance & anatomy, habitat, diet, stages of life cycle, special characteristics.  For example, what are the stages in the metamorphosis of the dung beetle? Students will illustrate three aspects of a prairie insect: (1) its appearance/anatomy, (2) its diet or special behavioral characteristic, (3) for background, its habitat. OR Students will create line drawings of stages, label the stages, and provide other anatomical and developmental information about the various forms (art, illustration, drawing; science, zoology) See resource links - Science Activity No. 25

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10. Portrait of Flint Hills Bird, Flower, Grass, or Animal

Students will observe the complexity and beauty of various Flint Hills life forms. What special anatomical features, etc. can you observe? What living conditions and needs have caused these life forms to adapt and form these characteristics? Which would be easiest or hardest to draw - why? Students will draw or paint a realistic, full-color portrait of Flint Hills insect, bird, flower, grass, animal, or insect, showing key characteristics, such as might appear in a scientific field guide. Students will discuss how creating their portrait helped them learn about the physiology and science of this life form. (art, illustration, drawing; science, botany, zoology)  See resource links - Science Activities No. 11 (flower), No. 10 (grass), No. 27 (birds), No. 28 (other wildlife); Prairie Animal Anatomy Sketches

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11. Color & Value in Local Mammals, Butterflies, Birds, Reptiles & Insects

Students will examine color and value in local mammals, butterflies, birds, reptiles, and insects. Why do insects develop different colors - which are for warning? For camouflage? Other purposes? Students will choose a Flint Hills creature whose coloration is related to camouflage, hypothesize the backgrounds against which it developed, and then create a can-you-find-it illustration of the creature camouflaged against its background. (art, drawing, painting; science, zoology)  See: Protective colorationWhy is it Orange?-Learning in the Prairie FIELD TRIP LESSON p. 79;
Experimenting with Color Signals-Learning in the Prairie LESSON p. 137.

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12. Marine Fossils from Inland Sea Era

Students will explore marine fossils from the inland sea era. What creatures lived here? How big were they? What forms did they take? Students will create illustrations of ancient marine organisms from when this area was under water, based upon observing their fossilized remains (can be creative and imaginative based upon hypothesis). (art, illustration and drawing, painting; science, zoology) See Resource links - Science Activities No. 59

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13. Nature & Design

Students will recognize, analyze, and interpret designs in nature.  Understanding Structural Diversity-Learning in the Prairie LESSON p. 29; Discovering Structural Diversity-Learning in the Prairie FIELD TRIP LESSON p. 121; Rhythm in Visual Design: -Learning in the Prairie LESSON p. 41;  Creating Structural Patterns (abstraction)-Learning in the Prairie LESSON p. 197; Expressing the rhythms of the prairie-Learning in the Prairie LESSON p. 197.

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14. Flint Hills Still Life - Objects from Cowboy / Cowgirl Culture; Natural Objects

Students will draw, paint, or photograph a “Flint Hills still life.”  Students can choose an object representing the cowboy and cowgirl culture of the Flint Hills. How does this object reflect the work and/or cultural values of the people who take care of cattle in the Flint Hills? Students will create a portrait of this object (draw, paint, or photograph). (art, drawing, painting, photography; language arts, speaking; social studies, sociology)
OR,  What natural objects from the prairie do you find especially interesting or beautiful? How does each object “tell the story” of the prairie? Students will arrange and draw or paint a collection of interesting rocks, animal bones, plant parts, feathers, or other natural objects from the prairie. (art, drawing, painting, photography; science, geology, zoology)

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15. Portrait - Cowboy / Cowgirl

Students will draw, paint, or photograph a portrait of a cowboy or cowgirl wearing clothing and accessories used in his/her ranch work. Students will write a paragraph interpreting how this clothing reflects the work and/or cultural values of the people who take care of cattle in the Flint Hills. (art, drawing, painting, photography; language arts, writing; social studies, sociology) See: Bruce Hogel-Ranch Rodeo; Flying W Photographers

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16. Portrait - Horse with Bridle, Saddle, Accessories

Students will draw, paint, or photograph a horse wearing bridle, saddle, and accessories used in working cattle in the Flint Hills. Students will study the anatomy and physiology of the horse. Students will give brief oral presentation about the particular style of this tack they have portrayed. (art, drawing, painting, photography; science, zoology)  See: Bruce Hogel-Ranch RodeoFlying W Photographers; Early Cavalryman & Horse

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17. Antique Car, Tractor, Farm Implement

Students will draw, paint, or photograph an antique car, tractor, or farm implement in their area.  What technique will you use to show the age of their subject? What mood will you create?  What setting and composition will you utilize and why?  Students will also try to determine the owner, age and use of the equipment and write a paragraph telling the story behind their picture. (art, drawing, painting, photography; language arts, writing; social studies, history)

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18. Illustrated Advertisement for Local Tourism Attraction

What local attractions do you have that would appeal to visitors?  Consider the classics, but also think of unique off-beat features of your area.  What are the features of this attraction and how can you best represent them in an illustration?   What wording will you add?  Will you include human figures?   What media will you use? Students will create an illustrated advertisement for a local tourism attraction. (art, graphic design; business)

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19. Illustrated Map of Local Area

Students will explore the genre of illustrated or pictorial maps.  Research examples of illustrated maps?  How do artists include illustrations of three-dimensional features on a two-dimensional map?  What will be the boundaries of your map - county, community, neighborhood, ranch, other?  What local landmarks or features do you want to include? (see next Activity)  Students will create free-hand a stylized, illustrated “map” of the local area emphasizing local landmarks and attractions (does not have to be to exact scale). (art, illustration and drawing; social studies, geography)  See:  IIlustrated Map of UK

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20. Local Structures of Architectural or Historic Value

Students will identify buildings, structures, statues, bridges, landmarks, monuments, etc. in their local community that have special historical or architectural value. Are any listed on the National or State Register of Historic Places? What architectural features make them unique? What is the name of their architectural style? Where did this style come from and when was it popular? Is it common or uncommon? From what materials were these buildings constructed and by whom? Were any local materials used? How have the structures been used over the years? Who has owned them? Students will create a drawing or painting of the building, featuring its unique architectural elements. Students will write a summary of their research on the building. (art, architecture; social studies, history) Architecture in Your Town Wiser Barn Barns Chase County Courthouse Determines Fate of Community Clements Stone Arch Bridge A Future for Flint Hills Barns Dreaming Big: Restoring Grain Mill
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21. Textile Folk Art of Quilting

Students will explore the textile folk art of quilting in their community. What is the history of this art form? Historically, who created quilts? How was quilting considered a social activity? What social organizations developed in connection with quilting? What quilting patterns are popular in your area? What special types of personalized quilt projects have developed? What types of fabrics and colors were used historically, and today? What is the commercial value of quilts - antique, modern, specialized? Where are they for sale in your area? How are quilts used as specially valued prizes in special events? What is a “barn quilt”? What is a “barn quilt trail”? Are there any in your area? Students will write a summary paper describing the quilt as a folk art form in the Flint Hills. Students will create a photo album of quilts by local quilt artists. Students will sew a quilt block. Students will design a “barn quilt” block. (art, textiles; social studies, history, sociology; family and consumer science; language arts, folklore, writing) See: Rose KretsingerHistory of Quilting

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22. Interpret a Quotation About Grasslands, Beauty & Art

Students will interpret a quotation about grasslands, beauty, and art. Explore quotations section in this website’s Flint Hills Information Resources, especially on Beauty and Art. What is your favorite quote? Why do you think it is true? Why do you think the author wrote it? What does it mean to you personally? Write a personal response paragraph interpreting the main point of the quotation. (art; language arts, reading, writing)  See: Info resources:  Quotations - Flint Hills & Tallgrass Prairie and Beauty, Art & Recreation

23. Cowboy Arts

Students will explore the traditional arts of the cowboy and cowgirl.  What media/materials are used in these arts?  Why?  What is their historic origin?  Explain the Spanish or Mexican influence in design?  What tools are needed in this craft?  How did these objects combine function with personal style? Students will create a form of a traditional cowboy art.  Students will display a traditional cowboy art and give a presentation on its origin and techniques used in its creation.(art, social studies, history, folklore) See:  Arts of Rancher & CowboyBruce Brock

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