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Heroes & Heroines

Students will look at works of art depicting military, religious, political, and everyday heroes and heroines and discuss their lives and the effects of their deeds. Teachers can use these lessons to introduce or examine in depth the concept of heroism through discussions of heroic actions and character.

Danger! Shark!

Grade Level: 5–8

Students will learn the story of young Brook Watson who lost his leg to a shark attack. By re-enacting the stances and feelings of his rescuers, they will come up with a list of adjectives to create a class definition of a hero/heroine. Then, they will create their own crest with personal symbols using Watson’s coat of arms as their inspiration.

In Memoriam: Honoring Heroes & Heroines Through Sculpture

Grade Level: 5–8

Using the history of the first African-American Regiment and the memorial by Augustus Saint-Gaudens as inspiration, students will understand and reflect upon the role of public commemorative sculpture in the United States. Then, they will research local monuments and draft designs for one in their hometown.

Heroines & Social Media

Grade Level: 5–8

Students will learn about Queen Zenobia of Palmyra who led her soldiers to challenge the Roman Empire. Then, they will select another famous heroine from history and create a fictional Facebook profile for her as a form of biography. Lastly, they will compose tweets that she would have posted had social media been available in her day.

Quiet Heroes & Heroines

Grade Level: 5–8

Students will learn the biblical story of Daniel in the lions’ den as an example of a man who showed quiet bravery and conviction to his beliefs. They will research a “quiet” hero/heroine from the twentieth century and write an essay about this person’s activism accompanying it with an illustration. Then, students will write a speech championing a personal cause they believe in.

White Cloud: A Hero to His People

Grade Level: 5–8

Students will learn about White Cloud, one of the chiefs of the Iowa people who attempted to raise money for his tribe after loosing their land. Through discussion and research, students will write a journal entry from the standpoint of a hero/heroine in their lives and then present to the class as if they were this person.

Borrow the teaching packet Art&

Research more heroes and heroines—artists, environmentalists, lifesavers, animals, peacemakers, poets, etc.—at the MY HERO Project

Learn more about hero and heroine myths from around the world at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Register for evening and weekend teacher professional development workshops and apply to participate in the summer teacher institute