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Lesson Plan #:AELP-ARA0027
Submitted: Lori Sampson
Endorsed by: Dr. Don Descy
Mankato State University Date: May 22, 1998

Grade Level(s): 3, 4, 5


  • Arts/Visual Arts


This lesson plan helps introduce students to a famous artist and his paintings. By sharing these famous paintings with students and encouraging them to create their own art work, students can gain confidence in themselves that they too can be great artists. This lesson plan also introduces the process needed to create a darker shade of color as well as a lighter tint of color. In this lesson plan they will add black to blue paint to create a darker shade of blue and white to blue paint to create a lighter tint of blue. This process will be applied to the paintings that they will create, an effect similar to that in Vincent Van Gogh’s painting, The Starry Night.


The students will learn about Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings and create paintings of their own while using their imagination and applying art concepts such as shades and tints of color.


Students will explain the process of creating darker shades of color.
Students will explain the process of creating a lighter tint of color.
Students will identify three paintings created by Vincent Van Gogh.

Background Information:

This activity can be done with students of different artistic levels. Prior to this lesson plan students should be exposed to paints and other art materials. Students should also have an understanding of some art vocabulary words.


Students will be able to relate the importance of creating darker shades and lighter tints of color to create a unique picture.
Students will realize that artists may use different styles when creating paintings, by observing their different artworks.


  • black and blue paint
  • painting paper
  • paint brush
  • tag board (large enough to fit around your painting paper as a frame)
  • noodles shaped like wheels and such
  • gold or brass spray paint
  • scissors
  • Elmer’s glue
  • silver or gold glitter
  • books and or paintings etc. discussing and showing Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings

Procedure: 1. Read a book about Vincent Van Gogh that has pictures of his artwork, including The Starry Night painting. For example, you could read the book called, Van Gogh Art For Children.

2. Show them some pictures of Van Gogh’s paintings such as, The Starry Night painting.

3. Discuss some vocabulary words such as artist, inspiration, imagination.

4. Demonstrate to the students how to make shades and tints of colors by painting a picture similar to Van Gogh’s The Starry Night painting.

5. Then tell the children that they too can be artists and have them use their imagination to see a starry night and have them paint a picture similar to Van Gogh’s, The Starry Night.

6. An extension for this would be to have the children create a frame for their paintings. This can be done by using tag board and a smaller rectangular tag board that the children decorate their frame using rainbow wagon wheel noodles, by gluing them on to their frames.

While the children are gone at night you would spray paint the children’s picture frames, using gold spray paint and let it dry over night.  Remember to spray paint outside or in a well ventilated room because the spray paint is hazardous to your health. Never use it around the students!

Then the next day the students may glue their paintings to their picture frames.


You can have the children present their pictures to the class and have them tell about how they painted their pictures. This will give you an idea as a teacher how they interpret the procedure and what they got out of it.