Many famous artists have used the seasons as a theme in their art. In this cross-curricular activity, Year 1 children use the artwork of Claude Monet to investigate the seasons and weather. The ideas can easily be adapted for use with other artworks, to fit with your topic or theme.
To complete this activity you will need:
- Famous paintings showing the seasons (see below for ideas.)
- BBC learning Zone clip – British Plants, Animals and Landscapes through the Four Seasons
Begin by displaying a painting showing the current season. As an example, this activity uses An Orchard in Spring by Claude Monet.
Put the children into pairs and ask them to discuss questions such as:
- What time of year do you think this is?
- How do you know?
- Imagine you are the lady sitting in this painting.
- Tell your partner what you can see.
- How do you feel?
- What can you hear?
- What are you doing?
- Why did you decide to come and sit in the orchard?
Ask the children to feed back and record their ideas. This can be a discussion exercise or you can ask the children to write a short paragraph about the Lady in the painting.
As a plenary, show the children the short BBC clip British Plants, Animals and Landscapes through the Four Seasons. After the clip, ask the children to explain to their partner what the clip showed. Draw out the key features of each season (linked to events that happen and changes in the weather).
Display the Spring painting on an Interactive whiteboard alongside three other paintings clearly showing the seasons. You could use;
- Summer – The Summer, Poppy Field
- Autumn – The Pond with Ducks in Autumn
- Winter – The Tow Path at Argenteuil, Winter
In pairs, discuss which painting is showing which season and explain your reasons why.
There are a few internet resources which will help you to find suitable paintings or other artworks, perhaps to link to your topic or your local area. Some examples are:
- The BBC Your Paintings Site allows you to search by what is in a painting. (Try “bluebells” or “snow” for some inspiration)
- Art.com will display art for different seasons
- Wikiart lets you search by keyword
- A quick Google Image search, for example “well known paintings of spring” is also useful.
- In an art lesson, the children can make their own version of the painting. For example, they could make their own Monet Spring orchard using collage materials, or paint it using cotton buds
- Display all four paintings along with the months of the year written on card for the children to match to the correct painting
- Compare how different artists have painted the Spring and spring flowers. For example, you could look at Van Gogh’s Almond Blossom, or Spring by Dame Laura Knight
- In a science lesson, look closely at the structure of flowering plants
National curriculum 2014 – Art
KS1 – Pupils should be taught about the work of a range of artists, craft makers and designers.
National curriculum 2014 – Geography
KS1 – Pupils should be taught to identify seasonal and daily weather patterns in the United Kingdom.
National curriculum 2014 – Science
Year 1- Pupils should be taught to:
- observe changes across the four seasons
- observe and describe weather associated with the seasons and how day length varies.
This post was written By Sam Collins
Sam teaches in Devon, and has over 20 years experience in primary education teaching Early Years, KS1 and KS2.
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