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Installation Heart Lesson Plan

Author: Jeffrey Cornwall

Year: 2015

Artform: Visual Art

Subjects: Health

Grade: 3rd

Overview: Students will discover ways in which emotional, mental and physical health can be promoted and sustained. Students will focus specifically on how these modes of health take place within the space of the school. Listing activities or verbs that promote these three forms of health, students act out and draw poses associated with these verbs. In groups, students choose one of the three forms of health. Then they choose a school activity or program that promotes that form of health, recognizing where within the school that activity occurs. Students then create a life size silhouette of a pose that represents the activity. This artwork is installed in the location at school where that activity occurs. A sentence describing the activity is also included as part of the artwork.

For example:

  • Mental Health: Reading – Library
  • Mental Health: Music – Music Room
  • Emotional Health: PE – Gym
  • Emotional Health: Playing with Friends: Playground
  • Physical Health: Drinking Water – Water Fountain
  • Physical Healthy: Eating Healthy – Cafeteria

Standards and Objectives

Apply knowledge of available resources, tools, and technologies to investigate personal ideas through the art-making process.

Individually or collaboratively construct representations, diagrams, or maps of places that are part of everyday life.

Investigate and discuss possibilities and limitations of spaces, including electronic, for exhibiting artwork.

Identify exhibit space and prepare works of art including artists’ statements, for presentation.
The students will learn ways to improve mental health and manage stress.

The students will understand how a healthy diet and exercise can increase the likelihood of physical and mental wellness.

Objective 2a. Examine the benefits of healthy relationships among peers, family, and community members.
Investigate personal emotional, mental, and physical health

Recognize relationships with space in the school

Introduce and practice gesture drawing



Start with discussion or review about general health. Help students to think beyond physical health of exercise and nutrition. Having a healthy mind and healthy feelings is equally important. To help students remember these terms of physical, mental and emotional health came be simplified into Strong, Smart, and Happy.

Show some of the artwork listed in the “Historical Element” of this lesson. This will further lead the discussion of health by showing artists who are working with ideas of being strong, smart and happy. It can also lead to a discussion about how the body has been used in art making throughout history and how the body itself can be a medium to create art just like paint and clay.

Since the human figure will be the main subject of the artwork, help students to develop and refine their figure drawing skills with gesture drawing. Gesture drawing is figure drawing in a very short period of time that can range from 5 seconds to ten minutes. These drawings are very quick and rough. The intent is to try to capture the pose as best as possible in the given time. A model is used as reference for drawing. Have the class help you create a list of activities that support physical, mental and emotional health. Use these words as inspiration for the poses made by the model. Students can volunteer to take turns being the model. Experiment with a range of durations for drawing. Start out medium and steadily decrease the time. Try a few longer poses where students can have more time to draw details like clothing.


Direct students to get into groups of two or three. Choose some way to have students choose which type of health they would like to work with. They can self select or choose a stick out of a cup or some other clever way you already do or can think of. Instruct students to think of places or activities within school that support that mode of health as well as the location in the school where that activity occurs. You can give some examples listed in the overview.

Students will be tracing the bodies to create a life-size silhouette of their activity. Demonstrate how to trace a body on a piece of butcher paper. Have a student lie on the paper in a pose of the school activity that supports their chosen mode of health. Give tips to students of what to do when they are being traced and how to create a good trace on the butcher paper.

The silhouettes usually (but not always) look best when the head is to the side so the profile is visible. After the trace is complete, students will probably need to come in and fix certain areas that were difficult to trace or traced incorrectly. The profile of the face is usually one of those areas. At a previous time, you can have students practice drawing the profile of a face.


Over the next 2-3 class sessions, students will take turns tracing each other and cutting out their silhouettes. Once the group is done tracing and cutting they can take a long strip of paper (format is selected and pre-cut by you) that they can write a sentence about their health such as “I can be smart when I read books.”

An additional work day may be needed to exhibit or hang the silhouettes and sentences. The silhouettes should be hung in the location of the school where that activity takes place.


  • What does it mean to be healthy?
  • How can I be physically healthy?
  • How can I be mentally healthy?
  • How can I be emotionally healthy?
  • How does the school help me to be healthy?
  • How has the body been used in art work?
  • How can the body be a medium for art?
  • Physical Health
  • Mental Health
  • Emotional Health
  • Figure Drawing
  • Gesture Drawing
  • Silhouette
  • The Thinker and his Wife, Karanovo 5000 BC
  • Anatomical Drawings, Leonardo Da Vinci, 1500
  • Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, Umberto Boccioni, 1913
  • Insurrection, Kara Walker, 2000
  • Pulse Room, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, 2006


  • White copy paper
  • Pencil
  • Butcher Paper
  • Long strips of white paper
  • White crayon (for dark-colored butcher paper)
  • Scissors
  • Masking Tape
  • Ladder