Integrating Art Across the CurriculumUsing art across the curriculum can be a way to engage visual learners, to launch collaborations between teachers, and to add new depth to subjects from social studies and language arts to math and science. Enjoy!
Quick Links: Elementary and Middle School | High School
Elementary and Middle SchoolThe intersection of art and science is just plain fun at the P.I.E. Institute. (Play, Invent, Explore). If you’re interested in mixing science and art, you’ll want to check out this site for projects using sound, light, movement and everyday objects to create art using technology.
Exploring Leonardo focuses on the intersection between art and science, exploring how Leonardo daVinci applied the scientific method creatively in every aspect of life including art and music. The site was designed by the Boston Museum of Science for grades 4 -8, students and teachers.
The Renaissance Connection, from the Allentown Art Museum, explores Renaissance visual arts and innovations and their role in the making of the modern world. Integrate art with social studies, science and language arts with these interactive activities for middle school students.
Use art as a writing prompt for elementary students with Art Safari from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). This site's simple design and questions make it appropriate for younger elementary students.
MoMA's Destination Modern Art, designed for 5-8 year-olds, guides children to explore works of art using activities that include music, math, reading and more.
SmARTKids from the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago combines learning about art with reading and writing. Student must read a lot and write in an online journal to complete the games and activities at the site. Appropriate for upper elementary and middle school students.
Room of Wonders (Chambres de Merveilles) is a bilingual site that encourages students to learn about world geography, and appreciate diverse cultures through games that explore art through shapes, designs and sounds. The game reconstructs a curiosity cabinet begun during the 18th century with objects from different parts of the world. Students learn about the objects and also search for additional objects using old maps. Room of Wonders is designed for 8-12 year olds but would be appreciated by middle school students and high school French students as well.
Cycles: African Life Through Art uses art as a window to history and culture of the peoples of Africa. The site was designed for use by 7th-grade students and their teachers by the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Choose Ur Style gives younger students an introduction to African culture through clothing styles.
Wrapped in Pride: Ghanaian Kente and African American Identity, from the National Museum of African Art, combines art and math for the study of patterns. Students can choose a pattern of Kente pieces and see how the whole fabric will appear when the pieces repeat.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics offers many art and math activities, such as playing with virtual geoboards, virtual tangrams, and more.
Playing with Time uses time uses time lapse and slow motion photography to help students visualize scientific processes such as tides, forest re-growth, the seasons, or geologic processes. Students can also “play with time” by speeding up or slowing down images of a firecracker, a water droplet, or bouncing balloons.
My Life as an Elk, from the National Museum of Wildlife Art, uses art from a variety of artists to illustrate a story that teaches about elk as well as about concepts such as survival and predator-prey relationships.
The Reading Planet site from RIF (Reading is Fundamental) offers several art and reading activities such as illustrating a story, poetry in pictures and more.
Add a little artistic flair to math with Fraction Flags (halves and quarters) and (thirds). This interactive from the Oswego City School District asks students to paint flags with different fractions of color. The Percentage Paint tool does the same thing with percentages. With Splat Squares students can "splat" different colors on multiples on a hundreds table; with Splat Squares Reveal they can do the same with hidden numbers.
Scholastic's website includes articles on Strategies for Arts Integration, including a blog and many lesson ideas.
High SchoolUniversal Leonardo, from the European Union, explores daVinci’s work and the intersection of art, science and mathematics using themes such as light and vision, the rule of mathematics, forces of nature, etc. The site provides a number of simple games to help students explore the thinking behind Leonardo’s art and inventions, as well as some classroom activities.
Campfire Stories with George Catlin, from the Smithsonian Institute, uses art, artifacts and primary source texts to bridge American history, geography, art appreciation, environmental conservation and multicultural studies. The site uses Catlin's artwork, video interviews, panoramas and more to present a rich picture of art, culture and the environment.
The online exhibits at the Newseum use art as a means to understand current events. Several exhibits explore political cartoons, while the collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs provides a vivid picture of political and social situations around the world.
Make Your Own Money is a WebQuest on art and economics for grades 10-12. The lesson includes reflective writing and is rich in social studies content. Students research and develop an alternative money system, and design their own currency. Students take the roles of economist, artist and public relations person as they plan, implement and market an alternative currency for their school.
Design Studio 3D invites students to act as architects using their imaginations to create their own design solutions to problems posed by clients and environmental sites. Students visualize spatial concepts as they gain awareness of the design process and knowledge of the techniques employed by architects, with Frank Lloyd Wright as their guide.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Timeline of Art History helps teachers combine history, geography and art.
Odyssey Online uses art as a doorway to exploration of ancient cultures. The site shows students how examining art and artifacts helps us learn about the ancient civilizations of the Near East, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and 19th - 20th century sub-Saharan Africa. It was developed by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester and the Dallas Museum of Art and features objects from their collections.
The British Museum hosts several o ther sites to help you explore ancient cultures through art:
Visions of Enlightenment: Understanding the Art of Buddhism draws on the Buddhist art collections of the Pacific Asia Museum to make curriculum connections using the national social sciences standards as well as art and literacy.
Last updated 6/2/10
Check out more Arts videos and teacher resources from Wisconsin Media Lab. Visit WIMediaLab if you are a Wisconsin student or teacher.