Arizona Landscape

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Arizona Landscapes
Arizona Landscapes Unit Overviewpdf

This set of lesson plans is designed in conjunction with the “Arizona Landscapes” centennial exhibition in the Gallery at Tempe Center for the Arts. The unit includes multiple lessons in visual art, science and history.

Present the Arizona Landscape exhibition PowerPoint


  • Theme in Life: We are all dependent on and enriched by our physical environment.
  • Theme in Art: Art can help us better see and appreciate our environment.
  • Theme in History: History can help us understand how our environment changes over time.
  • Theme in Science: Science can help us understand and preserve the quality of our environment.



Art Unit

Lesson one
Lesson One: Tiny Treasures  pdf

Resources and Supplies
Tiny Treasures PowerPoint
OPTIONAL: A collection of visually interesting natural objects (rocks, leaves, sticks, etc.) and manufactured objects (brick, board, bolt, roof tile, etc.).
OPTIONAL: Magnifying glasses

Lesson Two
Lesson Two: Exploring Arizona Landscapes at the TCA pdf

Viewfinder Template (pdf)
Exploring Landscapes at the Tempe Center for the Arts worksheet (pdf)
Questor Questions about Light in the Desert (pdf)
Arizona Landscapes Preview PowerPoint

Lesson Three
Lesson Three: Up Close and Personal  pdf

Resources and Supplies
(Silk Painting Supplies)
Paper or sketchbooks
Variety of natural objects from the area, such as seed pods, pine cones, cactus in small pots and dried cactus skeletons, leaves and small branches
Printout or magazine photographs of natural objects from the area, such as cacti and cactus
Flowers from the desert
10-inch silk hoops
Silk dye
Clear resist in applicator bottles
Mixing trays
Water containers
Alternative watercolor supplies
Light weight water color paper
Watercolor paint sets
Water containers
White oil pastels
Up Close and Personal: Watercolor Painting PowerPoint


History Unit

Lesson One
This Old House Revisited Lesson Plan pdf


This Old House Revisited - Interviews with the Residents of the Petersen House PowerPoint
Vocabulary Definitions (pdf)
How to do Historical Research about a House (pdf)
Elementary Worksheet (pdf)
Secondary Worksheet (pdf)
Questor Questions: About the Petersen House Museum (pdf)

Petersen House Museum
Tempe History Museum


Science Unit

Lesson One
Lesson One: Look Closely for Water Quality pdf

Look Closely for Water Quality PowerPoint
Questor Questions about Theodore Roosevelt Dam (pdf)
Look Closely for Water Quality Worksheet (pdf)


Community Connections
2012 marks the year in which Arizona celebrates its 100th birthday as a state. We celebrate our physical environment, which has played a huge part in our history, both before and after statehood. For the past millennia, people have made homes and livelihoods in harmony with Arizona’s diverse physical environment. The assortment of landscape terrains includes the high Colorado Plateau and the low deserts with mountains and buttes across the state. It also expands to forests on the Mogollon Rim as well as the great river valleys and canyons. Native People followed by regional and international immigrants have been sustained by resources in Arizona’s environment such as vast mineral deposits and resilient climate. Through the centuries of Arizona’s existence, we have transformed our environment through dams, irrigation and other large-scale construction projects. Progression can be seen in Arizona’s developing towns and cities, industrial complexes, transportation systems, mines, solar energy farms and even through intimate projects executed through parks, farms and gardens.

Thank you to:

  • Pat Burdette, Fine Arts Coordinator of the Tempe Elementary School District # 3
  • Suzanne Gregory, Art Educator at Gililland Middle School in the Tempe Middle School District
  • Alison Smith, Educational Services Representative for the Salt River Project (SRP)
  • Joshua Roffler, Curator of Collections at Tempe Historical Museum
  • Peggy Moroney, Tempe Historical Museum and TCA Docent
  • Persephone Brooks-Bilson, Tempe History Museum and TCA Docent
  • Heather Findling, research assistant at Tempe Center for the Arts
  • AZ Project W.E.T.
  • SRP
  • Friends of Tempe Center for the Arts

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