Symbols surround us everyday, some we understand, and some we do not. For example, travelers to Japan might misinterpret the manji symbol for a swastika, both having very different meanings. With this lesson, students will develop an awareness of the power of symbols and the possibility of misinterpretation.
Not just for art teachers. Use this lesson to incorporate observational skills, cultural diversity, and historical context into your curriculum with Common Core reading and writing standards.
This lesson will introduce students to symbols and logos while guiding them through observation and exploration of unfamiliar symbols. Students will also synthesize and relate their own knowledge and personal experiences with symbols.
—A brief introduction to Japanese Nebuta festivals.
—An exploration of symbols using photos and video of nebuta floats.
—A lesson in the difference between a swastika symbol and a manji.
—A comparison between symbols and logos.
—25 observational questions.
Combine this lesson with “Symbols in Art” and “Artist and Activist Ai Weiwei” to create a unit that covers the four art processes: Creating, Presenting, Responding, and Connecting.
NATIONAL CORE ARTS STANDARDS: Visual Arts Connecting
#VA:Cn11.1 Anchor Standard: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.
COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS: College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1: Make logical inferences from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7: Evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.2: Write informative/explanatory texts
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown words
Questions are written at a high school 9th grade proficient level but could be differentiated to fit other levels.