Submitted by Michele L. Nelson, Alamance - Burlington Schools

Lesson Title:
Eric Carle Collage with Color Theory

Grade Level or Course:
2nd grade

Time Allotment:
At least two class sessions


Targeted Goals and Objectives from the 2000 North Carolina Arts Education Standard Course of Study and Grade Level Competencies, K-12:

1.06 Use experimentation to find solutions
1.08 Recognize that images from reality and from fantasy may be used to create original art
2.01 Become familiar with additional art media, techniques and processes
2.04 Produce visual effects and textures using each media
3.06 Create work which shows more complex organization
5.03 Identify selected medium/techniques as processes used for individual artwork
8.01 Begin to understand different ways that people can make a living from creating art

Targeted Goals and Objectives from the North Carolina Standard Course of Study and Grade
Level Competencies, K-12
for other content areas.

English Language Arts: Discuss similarities & differences in events and characters across stories
Information Skills: Demonstrates familiarity with a variety of types of books and resources (print, non-print, electronic)
Information Skills: Respond to reading, listening, and viewing experiences orally, artistically, dramatically through various formats
Information Skills: Produce media in various formats, e.g., pictorial, multimedia


Lesson Objective(s):

The learner will:

  • study primary and secondary colors in a lab setting

  • make connections between art and literature

  • create a collage in the style of author/illustrator Eric Carle using hand-mixed color paper


Materials/Equipment Needed:

Supplies: finger paint, finger-paint paper (slick coated), scissors, glue, black and green construction paper

Visual Resources: Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh (or any other book on mixing primary colors), The Very Quiet Cricket or The Very Grouchy Lady Bug by Eric Carle and pictures/handouts of various bugs for referenc


Lesson Procedure:

The book on mixing colors will be read aloud. The students will then go to their seats for color experiments.

  • At each group setting there will be 4 different papers with 2 colors of finger-paint: blue and yellow, red and blue, red and orange, and white with any primary color

  • The students will hypothesize on what color will be created. Then the students who are sitting in front of the color set being discussed will proceed to mix the colors, while their classmates watch. Once the new color has been made and "discovered", the next color set will be mixed. Each student will have a chance to mix while his classmates watch. All students will be able to guess at what colors might appear.

  • After each child has had a chance to mix his primary colors to create secondary ones, the students will use the rest of the class time to thoroughly mix and cover their paper with the finger paint, enjoying the tactile experience

Directions for the Collage Portion of this lesson:

  • The following class session, the teacher will read an Eric Carle book with bugs as the main characters. Students will discuss the concept of author/illustrator. Students will analyze the book as to how the pictures where made (cut paper, some colors finger-painted on the paper). Students will be encouraged to make their own buggy picture with their own hand colored finger-paint paper.

  • Students will cut grass from half an 8x 10" piece of green construction paper and paste it to the bottom of the black 8 x 10" construction paper to create land/sky. There should be unglued top edges of the grass to hide bugs in.

  • Finger-painted papers will be cut and used in the creation of Eric Carle-style bugs, cutting shapes from the colored paper to create bug segments, legs etc. to make the bugs. The bugs will be glued to the paper with some peeking out from behind the cut paper grass (overlapping), some will have wings and will fly in the sky. Students will also cut a paper moon to hang in the sky and stars could be made from tiny yellow paper scraps, if time permits. Students may use photocopied pictures of various bugs as a reference for the creation of the insects. Note the differences between spiders and bugs (number of legs, segmented bodies etc.).




  • Students will be tested orally on basic color theory

  • Students' work will display application of the following art concepts: overlapping, balanced composition (use of the full paper)

  • Students will be able to discuss Eric Carle as an author/illustrator and his method for creating images (collage with cut hand painted paper)

  • Students will keep a personal portfolio of artwork for ongoing progress and assessment

Special Considerations:

  • Finger paint paper generally comes in large sheets. Cut down the sheets to a manageable size, such as 12" x 18", to ensure room for storage when drying.

  • Remind students that finger painting means just that, ONE FINGER, not whole hand painting

  • Have paper towels pre-wet to be handed out at the end of class so there isn't a rush for the sink (this is also a great art bribe for good behavior!)

  • Check with classroom teachers and try to schedule your lesson to be taught concurrently with the teachers' science lessons on bugs or color


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