Art Connections

Grades 4 through 6

This tour supports learning about (and through) art with experiences that encourage critical and creative thinking, working collaboratively, and engaging with rich art content. Students will encounter landscapes, portraits, and genre paintings.

Looking and Learning Skills

During four or five tour stops in the galleries, students engage in activities—such as looking exercises and working in small groups—that foster conversations about works of art. The following connections are promoted:

  • Artistic: Students will make observations about the stylistic choices artists make, such as composition and color. This tour includes sketching or creative writing activities.
  • Personal: Students will make meaningful connections to works of art through careful looking and by developing their own ideas and interpretations.
  • Historical: Students will understand that art can be a primary source that reflects and highlights a historic period.

Examples of Works Featured on Tour

  • Example works featured on the Art Connections school tour http://media.nga.gov/public/objects/1/0/2/4/9/4/102494-primary-0-740x560.jpg

    Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Shaw Memorial, 1900

    Learn more about this sculpture

  • Example works featured on the Art Connections school tour http://media.nga.gov/public/objects/1/2/2/0/1220-primary-0-740x560.jpg

    Jan Steen, The Dancing Couple, 1663

    Learn more about this painting

  • Example works featured on the Art Connections school tour http://media.nga.gov/public/objects/8/2/6/4/8/82648-primary-0-740x560.jpg

    Thomas Moran, Green River Cliffs, Wyoming, 1881

    Learn more about this painting

  • Example works featured on the Art Connections school tour http://media.nga.gov/public/objects/3/0/2/2/8/30228-primary-0-740x560.jpg

    Winslow Homer, Breezing Up (Fair Wind), 1873-1876

    Learn more about this painting

  • Example works featured on the Art Connections school tour http://media.nga.gov/public/objects/5/0/6/5/7/50657-primary-0-740x560.jpg

    George Catlin, Boy Chief - Ojibbeway, 1843

    Learn more about this painting

Logistical Information

Group Size: Up to 90 students
Length: 75 minutes
Meeting Location: West Building Rotunda

Pre-Visit and Post-Visit Activities

Expose your students to the art of looking carefully and sharing ideas about art. These pre- and post-visit activities are designed to model what students do on their Art Connections tour.

Pre-Visit Activity
"Zoom In" on The Lone Tenement by George Bellows
Estimated time: 20 minutes

Before visiting the museum, students practice looking carefully at a work of art, generating questions, and building interpretations. The "Zoom In" routine uses open-ended questions and a conversational approach to encourage engagement and thinking about works of art.

Download presentation: PDF (2MB) or PPT (2MB)
Download teacher notes: PDF (67KB)

Post-Visit Activity
Looking at New York and The Lone Tenement by George Bellows
Estimated time: 30 minutes

Building on their museum experiences, students look carefully at a work of art and build a rich shared description and interpretation. They discover that writing about works of art is another way of entering, interpreting, and engaging with the painting in a meaningful and personal way.

Download presentation: PDF (1MB) or PPT (1MB)
Download teacher notes: PDF (25KB)

Additional Gallery Resources

Art in the Classroom Poster
The Railway by Edouard Manet
Download poster (PDF 522kb)

The poster offers information and activities to encourage looking at, thinking about, and interpreting art. It can be used flexibly and is suitable for small-group or whole-class work.

Art in the Classroom Poster
Shaw Memorial by Augustus Saint-Gaudens
Download poster (PDF 685kb)

This poster offers information and activities to encourage students to consider the perspectives of the soldiers as they joined the Civil War through careful looking at art images and use of creative writing prompts. It explores the artistic challenges of creating a meaningful memorial and tasks students with conceptualizing their own memorials.

Learn more about how the poster links to Common Core State Standards (PDF 71KB).

Schedule a Tour

Please complete this form to request a tour.

Tours must be scheduled at least four weeks in advance.

Groups must contain at least 10 students.

Once your tour has been scheduled, you will receive a confirmation letter via mail in 10 business days (14 days for foreign-language tours).

Pre-Visit Information

Watch a video or download a presentation (PPT, 4MB) to show your students prior to their visit. Review our museum policies, location, parking, accessibility, security, lunch options, and other important visitor information.

Questions

Our tour scheduler, Jennifer Cross, is available to answer questions Monday through Wednesday between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. (September through May). Please contact her at (202) 842-6249 or schooltourrequests@nga.gov.

Also see our Frequently Asked Questions about School Tours.

Feedback

We greatly value your feedback about your school tour experience. Please submit this form to share your feedback.