It’s important to incorporate art history in elementary art classes, and this art project teaches students about ancient Minoan art through a fun hands-on group activity. Students will role-play that they are archaeologists who discover a broken mural from the Knossos Palace, which they will need to reassemble.
This downloadable zip file includes a lesson plan, PowerPoint, and printable images. The “Minoan Mural” PDF lesson plan is 2 pages long, and it describes how to introduce the activity where students will present they are archaeologists. The “Knossos Palace-Archaeology” PowerPoint contains 16 slides, and it provides a small amount of art history context. The “Knossos Palace Mural Fragments” is 12 pages long. Each page has a black outline illustration based on ancient Minoan artwork. The illustrations are fragments to give the archaeologist a starting point on their reconstructions. The images include people, dolphins, a monkey, and segments of a bull leaping scene!
This lesson is easy to teach in an art class, but it could also be used as part of ancient history unit on ancient civilizations. This group art project encourages students to think creatively, use problem-solving skills, and utilize teamwork. Use this lesson plan as part of a lesson plan on ancient Crete civilization, ancient mythology, or after reading a story about King Minos and the minotaur!
Anchor Standard: 4. Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.
Lesson Objective: Students will be able to identify fragments of ancient Minoan art and imagine what is missing.
Lesson Activity: Students reconstruct ancient Minoan murals in groups like archaeologists.
Materials: “Knossos Palace Mural Fragments” torn into smaller pieces, “Knossos Palace-Archaeology” PowerPoint, large mural paper, glue, pencils, erasers, crayons, and paper to cover the tables
Time: 2-3 classes
This group activity would work well as a follow up to Knossos Palace Model for a comprehensive ancient studies unit.