Unit One: Ancient Art

Dr. Nigel Spivey, in his series How Art Made the World, explores the human form in art, the miracle and power of pictures, and narrative's role in society. In addition, Dr. Ian Stewart, a geologist, in his series Journeys from the Centre of the Earth reveals how our ancestors made color.

The pattern in class is to view a documentary on the first day, then participate in a hands-on activity the next.


First Day: Prehistory

Video: Education Portal Prehistory videos - "The Last Ice Age," "Neolithic Agricultural Revolution," "Development of Hierarchical Structures," and "Mystery Cults and the Early Mother Goddess"

Activity: I introduce concepts about prehistory using this presentation and discuss concepts after each video above


The Human Form

Video: How Art Made the World:More Human Than Human” PBS Site (art nudity)

Activity: Students circulate through the six stations to explore the human form. I make folded, triangle signs from the “Station #” pages


Birth of Pictures

Video: How Art Made the World: “The Day Pictures Were Born” PBS Site & introductory prezo

Activity: Molly Bang's Picture This presentation, discussing basic elements of pictures, then activity that challenges kids to create a scene of conflict using only those basic elements


Power of Story

Video: How Art Made the World: “Once Upon a Time” (no link) PBS Site & introductory prezo

Activity: “Phive-Pic Plot” - discuss plot, show examples of five-picture stories, then challenge students to storyboard, photograph, and assemble pictures in Keynote that tell a visual story.



Where Does Color Come From?

Video: Journeys from the Centre of the Earth: Art (scavenger hunt viewing activity)

Activity: “Cave Man Painting” - we make our own paint using ocher (dried and ground red clay), chalk, and charcoal sticks, then paint on brown craft paper using twine brushes to simulate natural brushes.


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