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 (included with the lesson)
- 1 fine tipped permanent black marker (#ad)
- 11" x 15" watercolor paper (#ad)
- Paint palette (#ad)
- Tempera paints (#ad) or acrylic paints (#ad)
- Drawing board: (#ad) (Make your own by cutting an 18" x 24" piece of 1/4" masonite)
- Set of brushes (#ad)
- Masking tape (#ad)
- 1 bottle or cup for rinsing brushes
- 1 eraser
- 1 sheet of construction paper (#ad)
- A #2 lead pencil
- 1 gold paint pen (#ad)
Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:
Geography: Learn about the geography of the part of Germany where nutcrackers are made.
- Learn about Seiffen, Germany, the town where German nutcrackers are made.
- Learn about the Erzgebirge region surrounding the town.
History: Learn about the history of nutcrackers
- The history of the Nutcracker ballet
- The history of making nutcrackers and the man who invented them.
- Visit an amazing nutcracker museum in Leavenworth, Washington.
Music: Watch a video of the entire Nutcracker ballet.
- Learn why Germans immigrated to the United States.
- If your ancestors immigrated to the country you live in, write an essay telling why your ancestors immigrated. Compare your ancestors' reasons for immigrating to the reason the German immigrants immigrated to the US.
Literature: Read the story that inspired the ballet in either of these two books:
- Nutcracker, by E. T. A. Hoffman, and illustrated by Maurice Sendak.
- Nutcracker (#ad) by Alexandre Dumas, and illustrated by Phillida Gili.
Science: The nutcracker is a lever.
Cooking: Follow this recipe for a German treat made with pecans. 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 picture: 40 minutes
- Total time: 65 minutes