Level II-Art Lesson 6: The German Nutcracker
Learn to draw a nutcracker while you learn about some German history
The lesson is suitable for students in grade 4 through adult.
Art Lesson Description:
The town of Leavenworth, Washington, is proud of its German heritage, so residents decided to make the entire downtown look like a German village. Probably the most interesting part of the town is the Nutcracker Museum, where one can find thousands of nutcrackers, some of them dating back centuries.
This lesson is an introduction to body proportions, and we use the size of the head as a way of keeping the proportions correct.
Since it takes only a few drops of each color to paint the nutcracker, dispense the paint into palettes. This also prevents painters from mixing your supply of colors.
This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson plus 2 downloadable printouts: a warmup and a drawing of the nutcracker.
List of Supplies for Each Student:
- 1 warm-up for the nutcracker
- 1 sheet of 11” x 14” watercolor paper
- 1 small palette to dispense paint into for each student or student pair
- A surface to tape the watercolor paper onto (a 12” x 16” piece of masonite works well)
- 1 eraser
- 1 #4 watercolor brush
- At least 3 colors of bottled acrylic paints
- 1 sheet of construction paper
- Masking tape
- A #2 lead pencil
- 1 fine tipped black magic marker
- 1 gold paint pen
- 1 bottle or cup for rinsing paint brushes
Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:
Geography: Learn about the geography of the part Germany where nutcrackers are made.
- Learn about Seiffen, Germany, the town where German nutcrackers are made at http://global-writes.com/2011/12/seiffen-germany-christmas-takes-no-holiday.html
- Learn about the Erzgebirge region surrounding the town at http://www.erzgebirgepalace.com/The-German-Erzgebirge:_:500.html and http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Germany/Land_Sachsen/Erzgebirge-65013/TravelGuide-Erzgebirge.html
History: Learn about the history of nutcrackers
The history of the Nutcracker ballet: http://www.boiseweekly.com/
- The history of making nutcrackers and the man who invented them:
The history of the book/story that inspired the ballet: https://www.paballet.org/
- Visit an amazing nutcracker museum in Leavenworth, Washington: http://www.nutcrackermuseum.com/
- The history of the Nutcracker ballet: http://www.boiseweekly.com/
- Music: Watch a video of the entire ballet at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UgYqcagmzg
- Writing: Learn why Germans immigrated to the United States, and then write an essay telling why your ancestors lived where they did. Try to compare your ancestors reasons for living where they did to why the German immigrants choose the US.
- Literature: Read the story that inspired the ballet in either of these two books:
Science: The nutcracker is a lever. Learn about three types of levers at these sites:
Watch a video to see how nutcrackers are made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
- Cooking: Follow this recipe for a German treat made with pecans: http://www.food.com/recipe/german-cinnamon-roasted-almonds-or-pecans-340248. You may also want to learn about the nutrition or calories of each ingredient, or use your math skills to double the recipe or cut it in half!
Approximate Time to Complete the Art Class:
- Introduction through guided drawing: 25 minutes
- Finishing the drawing: 40 minutes
- Total time: 65 minutes