11 Art: Observation


Please pull a few small branches with leaves, or not,  a pine branch, an acorn, and a few other plants or grasses that you find in your yard.  It would be wonderful to take your students on a ten minute nature walk as well if weather permits.

Meriwether Lewis was an American explorer, who with William Clark led the Lewis and Clark Expedition through the uncharted American interior to the Pacific Northwest in 1804–06. He later served as governor of Upper Louisiana Territory. The Lewis and Clark Expedition spanned 8,000 mi (13,000 km) and three years, taking the Corps of Discovery, as the expedition party was known, down the Ohio River, up the Missouri River, across the Continental Divide, and to the Pacific Ocean. Lewis served as the field scientist, chronicling botanical, zoological, meteorological, geographic and ethnographic information.

Explain to your students that the most important aspect of an artist or scientist is the ability to observe.  The items they see may be something they’ve stepped on for their entire lives.  Ask them to pick them up and observe five things about each that they’ve never noticed before.  An acorn hat, for example, has fuzzy inside and scales on the outside.  Drawing these would be interesting.

EHA Supplies:

  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Sharp pencil
  • Pictures
  • Ruler
  • Twine


  1. Spread the items you brought from your yard around the room.
  2. Show the images above to your students.
  3. Ask students to fold two sheets of paper in half and place one inside the other to form a book. 
  4. Use the sharp pencils to make two holes in the folded edge of the paper. 
  5. Run the twine through the holes and tie to create binding.
  6. Point out that Lewis and Clark’s maps had hand-made grid lines. 
  7. Now, tell your students that they are explorers like Lewis and Clark.  They are discovering the items throughout the room and will bring their books back to the president and scholars in Washington, D.C. when their journey is complete. 
  8. Ask your students to do their best drawing each of the items. 
  9. Emphasize the detail in Lewis and Clark’s drawings.  The veins in the leaves.  The outside texture of an acorn. 
  10. Encourage your students to draw the terrain they see through the window of your classroom.  Here, they will place grid lines and try to draw to scale.



Posted in: art

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