Level III-Lesson 11: The Canada Goose
Learn to use the rule of thirds to arrange objects in a composition
The lesson is suitable for students in grade 5 through adult.
Art Lesson Description:
It’s easy to recognize a flock of Canada geese when they are flying—they honk and fly in a V-formation. But what happens to the tidy V-formation once they land? The birds scatter about randomly. So why not arrange a few of these easy-to-draw, majestic birds into an artistic pattern? That’s just what this lesson does.
Students will draw a small flock of three birds.
- They will arrange them using the Rule of Thirds.
- In the process, they will learn to use size and placement to create a sense of distance.
Then they will color the picture with mixed media:
- Black magic marker,
- Oil pastel, and
The result is a picture that contrasts between sharply drawn lines and a very loose approach to using watercolor.
This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson plus 2 downloadable printouts: a warmup and a drawing of the goose. (The video version of the lesson allows for more experimentation with composition than in the PowerPoint version.
Learn Watercolor Techniques for Beginners by clicking here.
List of Supplies for Each Student:
- One printout of the Canada goose warm-up (this comes with the lesson)
- 1 sheet of 11" x 15" watercolor paper
- 1 fine tipped permanent black marker
- 1 pencil
- Masking tape
- Drawing board: (Make your own by cutting an 18" x 24" piece of 1/4" masonite)
- A set of watercolor paint
- 1 set of oil pastels
- Set of brushes
Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:
Facts about geese:
- All about birds: the Canada Goose.
- Audobon facts about Canada geese.
- National Geographic facts about Canada geese.
- Answers to questions about geese.
- Interesting facts about geese.
- Humane Society information about geese.
Use the habits of geese as an example of good character with this video.
Literature for younger children:
- Toulouse: The Story of a Canada Goose by Priscilla Cummings: A warm-hearted story of a migrating goose and the snow goose who befriends him.
- Petunia by Roger Duvoisin: Pentunia finds a book, decides it makes her wise, and dispenses advice to her friends.
- The Canada Geese Quilt, by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock (Author), Leslie W. Bowman (Illustrator): A story of a young girl, her mother, her grandmother, and a wonderful surprise.
Literature for older children:
- Wild Goose, Brother Goose, by Mel Ellis (Author): A story told from the point of view of a goose. It’s been compared to Old Yeller and Born Free. Bring a hankie when you read it!
- Read The Geese of Beaver Bog by Bernd Heinrich.
- Solitary Goose by Sydney Landon Plum, is a moving, true account of how one woman interacts with an injured Canada goose.
- The Snow Goose, by Paul Gallico: A tale about a dark, reclusive hunchback with a gift for love and healing, a timid country girl, and the wounded snow goose that brings them together. Good reading if you like a little sentimentality.
- Learn more about composition with Where To Put the Cow: A Cartoon Guide To Composition.
Approximate Time to Complete the Art Class:
- Drawing the birds: 30 minutes
- Using mixed media to color the picture: 30 minutes
- Total time: 60 minutes