Lesson Plans

These Vincent van Gogh lesson plans for kids are designed to help children of all ages understand and appreciate art. Allowing children to be creative through engaging lesson plans is a great way for young minds to be inspired and learn. These hands on activities can help improve math skills and teach art appreciation. With an array of student levels, the following lesson plans and teaching resources will help students understand more about Van Gogh, his works and the world of art.

Sunflower Measuring and Counting

Overview: Students will practice measuring and counting - improving math skills and art appreciation through the use of Van Gogh's Sunflowers and sunflower seeds.

Student Level: 1st - 2nd Grade

Time Frame: 1 hour

Objectives:

  • Students will communicate what they have learned about sunflowers
  • Students will improve their measuring and counting skills
  • Students will work cooperatively in groups

Materials:

  • Posters, prints, or overheads of Van Gogh's Sunflowers
  • Silk or real sunflowers with stalks
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Glue
  • Crayons
  • Rulers
  • Construction Paper

Procedures:

  1. Begin the activity by showing a poster or print of Van Gogh's Sunflowers. Ask students to count items in the painting. For example, how many sunflowers are in the painting, how many different colors do you see?
  2. Ask students to guess what type of flower is in the painting. Then ask students to guess how tall is a sunflower. After students make guesses assign students to small groups of 2 to 3 students.
  3. Each group will receive one sunflower. In small groups, students will use rulers to measure how tall their sunflower is in inches.
  4. Next students will write how tall the sunflower is in inches at the top of his/her piece of paper underneath his/her name.
  5. Once each group's measurements have been approved each group will be given a bowl of sunflower seeds. Each student will count out the number of sunflower seeds for the number of inches counted. For example if the sunflower was 40 inches each student would count out 40 seeds.
  6. Each student will then take his counted seeds and glue them to his paper and create his own sunflower artwork with the seeds and crayons.

Additional Resources: Vincent Van Gogh Gallery - Sunflowers


The Life of a Sunflower

Overview: Students will analyze poem "Cripple" by Carl Sandburg and make comparisons between poem and Van Gogh's Sunflowers.

Student Level: 8th -10th Grade

Time Frame: 1 class period

Objectives:

  • Students will gain a thorough understanding of the poem "Cripple" by Carl Sandburg as well as literary analysis and criticism.
  • Students will improve their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

Materials:

  • Posters, prints, or overheads of Van Gogh's Sunflowers
  • Poem - "Cripple" by Carl Sandburg

Procedures:

  1. Begin the activity by showing Van Gogh's Sunflowers on the overhead. As students walk in ask them to write single words and phrases to describe the painting.
  2. When students have completed the task, ask for volunteers to give responses.
  3. Next, ask for volunteers to read the poem "Cripple" by Carl Sandburg aloud so that the poem is read at least three times aloud in class.
  4. Next, ask for student's reaction to the poem and discuss possible meanings of the poem as well as metaphors used.
  5. As an exit activity, ask students to look at the painting again and review the words that they chose to use to describe the sunflowers. Then ask each student to write a one paragraph response comparing their choice of words and the choice of words in the poem as metaphors and meaning of the poem.

Additional Resources: Vincent Van Gogh Gallery - Sunflowers

Additional Van Gogh Lesson Plans

Pre-School

A Celebration of Sunflowers!
http://www.first-school.ws/activities/occasions/vangogh.htm

Elementary

Van Gogh’s Painting Style
http://www.kinderart.com/painting/vangogh.shtml

“Postman Roulin” by Vincent Van Gogh
http://keller.clarke.edu/~jlingen/vangogh.htm

Van Gogh Flowers Art Lesson
http://www.deepspacesparkle.com/2012/02/06/van-gogh-flowers-art-lesson/

Sunflowers, Van Gogh, and You 
http://www.teachervision.fen.com/artists/activity/115.html

Vincent Van Gogh Cookies
http://makingartfun.com/htm/f-maf-art-library/van-gogh-cookie.htm

The Lost Works of Van Gogh
http://www.lessonplanspage.com/artlesson-htm/

Star Bright, Starry Night
http://makingartfun.com/htm/f-maf-art-library/vincent-van-gogh-lesson.htm

Impressionist Landscapes
http://www.bukisa.com/articles/273953_impressionist-landscapes-an-art-lesson-plan-for-third-to-fourth-grade

Middle School

Who Am I?  Self-Portraits in Art and Writing
http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/education/teachers/lessons-activities/self-portraits/van-gogh.html

Van Gogh Clay Plaque
http://www.dickblick.com/lesson-plans/van-gogh-clay-plaque/

Van Gogh’s Family Tree
http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/00-2/lp220_02.shtml

Seeing Feelings
http://www.albrightknox.org/education/lesson-plans/lesson:seeing-feelings/

High School

Olive Trees
http://www.artsconnected.org/artsnetmn/environ/vangogh4.html

Any Grade

Van Gogh’s Starry Night to teach the hatching technique
http://www.lessonplanspage.com/artmdhatchingvangoghp12-htm/

Sheaves of Wheat in A Field Geranium in a Flowerpot Portrait of Old Man with Beard Portrait of a Woman with Ribbon Self Portrait with Dark Felt Hat
Sheaves of Wheat in A Field Geranium in a Flowerpot Portrait of Old Man with Beard Portrait of a Woman with Red Ribbon Self Portrait with Dark Felt Hat
"An artist needn't be a clergyman or a churchwarden, but he certainly must have a warm heart for his fellow men."