3rd Grade – California Landforms

Field trip Program: Monterey Museum of Art and Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
One 45 minute pre-visit lesson, Two 45 minute museum tours at MMA and PGMNH and a 30 minute post-visit activity

Download a pdf version here (4.73 mb)

MUSEUM CONNECTIONS

MMA current exhibition The Art of California, 1880 to the Present

PGMNH permanent collection exhibitions of birds, mammals, reptiles, rocks and minerals and other natural resources from the Monterey region

Overview

In the classroom your students will use a California map to identify deserts, mountains, valleys, hills, coastal areas, oceans and lakes. They will then view geographic landforms represented in reproductions from the MMA collection. Two-dimensional works of art illustrate the basic concept of space (foreground, middle ground, and background) as shown in original landscapes, seascapes and cityscapes. A post-visit activity will provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the concepts to which they have been introduced during the museum experience.

Objectives

Students will

  • identify landforms in their local region depicted in works of art and
  • on a map;
  • describe examples of how people use their local region and resources;
  • demonstrate their understanding of foreground, middle ground, and background in a work of art.

California Standards Addressed

History-Social Science
Continuity and Change – 3.1 Students describe the physical and human geography and use maps, tables, graphs, photographs, and charts to organize information about people, places, and environments in a special context.

Visual Arts
Artistic Perception – 1.4 Compare and contrast two works of art made by the use of different art tools and media.
Creative Expression – 2.3 Paint or draw a landscape, seascape, or cityscape that shows the illusion of space.


Vocabulary

Geographical Terms

Bay – an area of a lake or ocean partly surrounded by land
Coast – land next to ocean
Dune – a mound or ridge of sand formed by wind or water action
Highland – land that is higher than most of the surrounding land
Hill – a raised mass of land, smaller than a mountain
Lake – a body of water with land all around it
Landform – A natural feature of the land’s surface, such as a hill
Lowland – land that is lower than most of the surrounding land
Mountain – a steeply raised mass of land, much higher than the land around it
Mountain range – A group of mountains connected together
Natural resource – something found in nature that is useful to people
Ocean or Sea – a salty body of water covering a large area of earth
Peninsula – a piece of land nearly surrounded by water
River – a large stream of water that runs into a lake
Sea level – the level of the surface of the ocean
Valley – a low area of land surrounded by higher ground

Art Terms

Background – the back of a painting or 2-dimensional artwork used to create the illusion of space
Foreground – the front of a painting or 2-dimensional artwork used to create the illusion of space
Middle ground – the middle of a painting or 2-dimensional artwork used to create the illusion of space
Oil paint – a paint that is made up from a powdered color and oil
Photograph – an image produced on light-sensitive film inside a camera
Watercolor – a paint that is mixed with water and applied to paper


Materials

  • MMA collection images
  • Map of California Habitats
  • Colored pencils, crayons, pens or other drawing instruments
  • Writing utensil
  • Printer or projector to view downloaded images and map
  • Drawing paper

Before the Field trips

Vocabulary Development

Introduce the vocabulary words above using the MMA collection images and point out the landforms in each artwork. Each artwork includes one or more of the vocabulary words above. Use repetition as an opportunity to gradually encourage students to point out the landforms on their own once each has been introduced.

These terms will be reintroduced during the visit to the Monterey Museum of Art. Explain that they will be able to see these artworks in person on their visit.

Step 1

Project or display the Habitats Map of California. To orient students to the map, point out the locations of the San Francisco and Monterey Bays. Explain that the map shows the natural regions, landforms and kinds of vegetation growing in different areas of California. Ask students volunteers to identify:

a. Which named geographic region the Monterey Bay area is situated in (Coast Ranges)

b. The body of water west of the Coast Ranges (Pacific Ocean)

c. A mountain, valley, desert, river and lake.

Step 2

Project or display the MMA collection images. Use the I-Spy game to encourage exploration of the landform characteristics. For example “I spy a mountain in the background” or “I spy a body of water that is surrounded on all sides by land.” Continue these questions so that each landform has been addressed at least once

Step 3

Discuss how landforms and natural features of an area can influence the way people use the land or sea. What resources found near this geographical landform can be used for food? How might this landform help with transportation? What materials could you find in your own neighborhood to build a house? Show the MMA images again, and ask students to identify the resources people did or could use, and how. For example, for the following paintings, consider asking:

Francis McComas, Cypress, Monterey, c. 1915, oil on canvas
“What advantages would a person have if they lived in this scene?

William F. Ritschel, Dangerous Coast, Majorca, n.d., watercolor
“What would a person living near this scene have to eat?”

Thaddeus Welch, Untitled, c.1900, oil on canvas
“What natural resources would a person living in this scene be able to use for a dwelling?” “Where in this picture might a person choose to build it?”


MMA Collection Images

Armin Hansen, Men of the Sea, 1920,  oil on canvas
Armin Hansen, Men of the Sea, 1920, oil on canvas
Vocabulary: peninsula, bay, ocean/sea, coast
William F. Ritschel, Centurions of the Sea, 1930, oil on canvas
William F. Ritschel, Centurions of the Sea, 1930, oil on canvas
Vocabulary: ocean, sea level, coast, oil painting

Thaddeus Welch, Untitled, c.1900,  oil on canvas
Thaddeus Welch, Untitled, c.1900, oil on canvas
Vocabulary: mountain, highland, lowland, hill, river, foreground, background, middle ground, oil painting

William F. Ritschel, Winter Morning, East River, 1912, oil on canvas

William F. Ritschel, Winter Morning, East River, 1912, oil on canvas
Vocabulary: river, foreground, middle ground, background, oil painting

William F. Ritschel, Dangerous Coast,  Majorca, nd, watercolor on paper

William F. Ritschel, Dangerous Coast, Majorca, nd, watercolor on paper
Vocabulary: ocean/sea, watercolor

Francis McComas, Cypress, Monterey, c. 1915, oil on canvas

Francis McComas, Cypress, Monterey, c. 1915, oil on canvas
Vocabulary: ocean/sea, coast, foreground, middle ground, background, oil painting

M. Evelyn McCormick, Monterey Bay from the Presidio, 1925, oil on canvas

M. Evelyn McCormick, Monterey Bay from the Presidio, 1925, oil on canvas
Vocabulary: mountain, hill, sea level, lowland, highland, bay, ocean/sea, foreground, middle ground, background, oil painting


Field Trips

Your visit to the Monterey Museum of Art

Your visit will be tailored to this lesson and led by an experienced docent. The forty-five minute tour will begin with a re-introduction of landforms and vocabulary terms. Students will be asked to recall and look for the pictures they saw in class. The docent will lead the class through the Museum using the artworks in the exhibition as a visual narrative. S/he will introduce the three forms of art; oil painting, watercolor and photography. The tour will be supplemented with a brief introduction to the basic premise of space by discussing and demonstrating foreground, middle ground and background. In addition, students will participate in a hands-on creative art experience based on the landscape paintings explored during the tour.

 

Your visit to the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History

Your visit will augment this lesson and trace the ways in which people (or societies) have used the resources of the local region. Students will view live-mounted specimens of local wildlife species and the exhibits of local rocks and minerals. School visits associated with this lesson will include activities for the students, such as touching a sea otter pelt and a deerskin hide, guided exploration of the Museum’s native plant garden and going on a scavenger hunt through the exhibits. If requested, the fieldtrip may be tailored to introduce History-Social Studies Standard 3.2.1, and discuss the ways in which physical geography influenced how the local Indian nations adapted to their natural environment (e.g., how they obtained food, clothing, tools).

Post-visit Activity

After visiting both museums, lead students in a discussion that highlights the artwork they have seen at MMA. Ask the group to come up with descriptive words that express the beauty of the California landscape. Create a class book by having each student draw a landscape that emphasizes foreground, middle ground, and background. Complete the activity by inviting students to title their artwork and write a descriptive sentence or short poem as a caption for their illustration.