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Ephemeral Art Lesson


Standards Addressed:

5.3 The student will express personal ideas, images, and themes through artistic choices of media, techniques, and subject matter.

5.4 The student will identify and apply ethical decisions in art making.

5.9 The student will use contemporary media to create works of art.

5.19 The student will analyze an artist’s point of view based on contextual information.

5.24 The student will reflect on and describe the nature of art

Enduring Understandings:

Expression through abstract art. 

Understanding and applying ephemeral art-making. 

Introspection and reflection through emotional art-making. 


Essential Questions:

How can we express ourselves through abstract and figurative drawings?

How can we express abstract ideas through art?

How can art be about an idea, rather than a final product?

How can we respect that every person  has a unique life journey and purpose? 

What are our hopes and dreams for the future?


Student Learning Objectives:

The student will be able to…

SWBAT draw exhibiting new knowledge in abstract art. 

SWBAT discuss abstract ideas and how to make art about them. 

SWBAT define the word “ephemeral” and reflect on an ephemeral art-making experience. 

SWBAT connect symbolism in art processes to real-world scenarios. 

SWBAT gain perspective and empathy for others through symbolic art-making. 

SWBAT set personal goals and introspect on their hopes and dreams for the future. 


Unit Vocabulary: Abstract art, abstract nouns, figurative art, ephemeral, introspection, reflection, growth, layers 


-acrylic paint, water 

-markers, paper 

-black sharpies 


Essential Materials: 

Markers or sharpies, paper

Flower pots, paint, newspaper to put down on table, cups 

Utilized Resources: 

(List texts, websites, primary sources, videos, recordings, artworks, etc. to be used in the unit.)

Unit Assessment:

Diagnostic (beginning): In the beginning, students start by doing an exercise to show their understanding of abstract art making. The students will do an assignment which involves making an abstract drawing based on a life event. 

Formative (in-process): Once students show understanding of the differences between abstract and figurative art, they draw on flower pots responding to the prompt “Who are you beneath the surface?”...Drawings to be assessed for understanding.  Students then pour paint over their drawings to symbolize their understanding of ephemeral art. They will reflect on this process through a formative discussion. 

Summative (end): At the end, students plant seeds into their flower pots and write letters to their future selves. They also incorporate an abstract drawing with their letters.  Students have a formative discussion about the process of the unit. The discussion shows their understanding of concepts such as: ephemeral art, abstract ideas and empathy for others. Students participate in a gallery walk to see other’s work. 


In lesson one, students can decide on their own personal life event to draw an abstract drawing about. This is their decision and they can decide on the color scheme. 

For the flower pots, students can pour paint over their drawings. Students make their own unique drawings responding to the prompt. 

Students can think, pair, and share about ideas during discussion times. This way, students who prefer to think individually have time to, while also students who prefer to verbally process have time too. 


There will be separate stations for certain techniques that involve a teacher’s assistance if needed. These will happen during studio times. 

Option to take work home to work on it. 

Powerpoint to visually show information through words and photos and pictures. 

Lesson Plan Overview: 

  1. LESSON 1: Abstract vs. Figurative Art

Students learn about the differences between abstract and figurative art. Students learn techniques for abstract drawing and make their own abstract drawing exercise. They respond to the prompt: “Think about an event or place or memory in your life, big or small, and make an abstract drawing of it. Write a sentence or two on the back to explain your thought process behind the drawing.”

2. LESSON 2: Responding to abstract ideas through art-making. - Students learn about ephemeral art, and begin on a two day lesson. They draw responding to the prompt “who are you beneath the surface”- on a white flower pot. 

3. LESSON 3: Participating in and reflecting on ephemeral art making. -Students pour paint over their flower pot drawings. They reflect on this process. There is a station set up for pouring paint. Other students begin on a new project: to write a letter to your future self, and an abstract drawing to go along with it. 

4. LESSON 4: Using symbolism in art-making to talk about hopes and dreams for the future.  Students have a station to plant seeds into their flower pots. They also finish up their letters and drawings to their future selves. At the end of class there is a gallery walk and group discussion to conclude the lesson. 

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