California Missions (5th grade)

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This exercise proposes to identify the principal elements of architecture of the different missions and their proportions and to experiment with dry pastels.
You will need 1 hour 1/2 to complete it.

Prior to do the exercise
This exercise is made after a field trip to a mission – for example San Juan Bautista, the fifteenth and largest of the Spanish missions established in present-day California. All the Missions offer very interesting architectural features.

Back in the classroom – Short Power Point presentation
– What are the most important features of the architecture of the missions? The students name them on the photos.
– What are the most important lines? Show a mission. Ask the students to tell what they are. Do it for a few different missions.

The activity
1. The students get a letter size color print of a mission, a sheet of black paper and a pencil. I used available photos of the missions on internet (each student gets a photo randomly assigned).

2. The students find the most important lines with a pencil.

3. They use the dry pastels to make their drawing and experiment with the powdery texture of the medium.

4. When finished, they can use a black oil pastel to enhance a few lines or more.

5. All the drawings are on the floor for a 10 mn positive critique with all the students around, either standing or sitting, depending on the space.

6. After the class, I fixed the drawings myself with a pastel fixative (spray).

12×18″ black Canson paper (one sheet per student)
color dry pastels (an assortment of colors including white, tan, light blue, light green, brown, orange and red per table)
1 black oil pastel per student