Educator Tools

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Online Curriculum

 clay hands

Over the past ten years, the Gallery at TCA team has produced more than 30 different visual arts curriculum units for elementary and secondary teachers and parents in conjunction with a variety of exhibition themes. Each unit comes equipped with ready-made lessons, worksheets, hands-on project Powerpoints and connections to the Arizona State Standards for Arts Education (can be easily connected to the National Standards). The Online Curriculum is developed by nationally recognized art educator Dr. Mary Erickson in collaboration with exhibiting artists and Arizona-based art teachers from a variety of schools and media specialties. Each lesson and hands-on art project has been tested by actual art teachers with their students. We hope that you will find this resource as a valuable addition to your classroom. Feel free to download and change the resources as needed. We've given you a good start, now make it your own.

*These lessons are provided free of charge. In exchange, we just ask for your feedback and/or sample pictures of what your students made. Let us know who you are and where you teach through e-mail

Lesson Plans

Biomimicry: Nature inspired design
STEAM: Systems within Systems
Green and Gray: Natural and built environments
Birds of a Feather: Arts and sciences of bird art
Going Green: Sustainability
But It's a Dry Heat: art about the climate of where you live

Pop Culture
Western POP: Facts and fiction of the American West
Page to Screen: Art and film inspired by the written word
American POP: Pop culture from super heroes to science fiction
Cars and Guitars
Chuck Jones: It only looks easy (animation)

CLAY: Art made of or inspired by clay
Animal Crackers: Animals
Clay: Useful or Beautiful?

Media Specific
Merely Players: Costume Design
COPPER: Art made or or inspired by copper
Realism: From the International Guild of Realism
WOOD: Art made of or inspired by wood
GLASS: Art made of or inspired by glass
PAPER: Art made of or inspired by paper
Masters of Illusion: Tricks of Perfection/Tromp L'Oeil
Public Art: art in public places

Summer of Love: Tokens of Love
Family Matters: Art about family connections
Mixing It Up: Building an Identity (Culture)
Outsiders Within: Personal and Cultural Perspectives
Read Me a Picture: Children's Book Illustrators
Faces: Art about the human face
Projecting Personas: The public image of Roy Orbison

Arizona Landscapes: Landscape art

Twenty Questions: What is it?

Inquiry Tools

People of all ages and backgrounds can be both attracted to and intimidated by art at the same time. We've found that asking questions that start conversations is one of the best ways to put people at ease. Sure, some art is easy to approach, but some art is more difficult to understand. Just like a book, art can be appealing, serious and yes, even challenging. You and your students bring a variety of thoughts and personal preferences into the experience as well. By practicing some of the Inquiry-Based Art Education Tools below, you will find that those seemingly complicated layers of meaning and context can be pealed back and explored. Its just knowing where to look and why.

Meet one of the Gallery at TCA's inquiry mascots, Questor.
Questor the bird is an art student who is curious about understanding artworks.

questor all 
Look: What can I see? Facts about the artwork.

Learn: What can I learn? Contextual facts.

: What does it mean? Conclusions about meaning.

: How does it compare? Conclusions about connections among artworks. 


Meet the Gallery at TCA's other mascot, Jack.
Jack, the rabbit is an artist who jumps at the chance for new art making ideas.
Jack all

: What choices will I make in my artwork 

Seek: What art ideas can I get from my own life and times? 

: What ideas can I get by looking at other art? 

: What do I want to achieve with my artwork? 



Educator Workbooks

These workbooks are designed to help educators and students alike develop thoughtful questions. Whether you are touring the exhibition or studying independently, these workbooks can help enhance your experiences in understanding art.

Walk in My Shoes Educator Workbook




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