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Mine the Work of Franz Kline

Study how abstract artist Franz Kline's coal region roots inspired his art then create your own original industrial drawings.

  • Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Franz Kline was born in 1910. He grew up among sights associated with coal mining which greatly influenced his professional work. Invite students, working in small groups, to learn more about this abstract artist, his early life and use of unusual items in his work. Organize text resources for this activity, as well as teacher-approved Internet web sites focused on Kline's work.
    2. Once research is complete, have student groups prepare to create an abstract painting in Kline's manner. First, students will sketch a building or piece of machinery with Crayola® Colored Pencils. Encourage the use of strong lines with no shading.
    3. If there is access to an overhead projector, students trace drawings on a transparency with Crayola Washable Markers, then project the image onto a large sheet of colored paper taped to the wall with masking tape. Students trace the drawing with colored pencils. OR students choose a section of their drawing that has interesting forms. Lightly redraw the lines on a large piece of colored paper with a colored pencil.
    4. Request that students cover their work area with recycled newspaper. Using a wide sponge brush and black Crayola Tempera Paint, groups paint the lines. Dry.
    5. Use a second sponge brush to paint in the areas surrounding the lines with white tempera. Encourage groups to be bold and expressive, while leaving some areas blank. Dry.
    6. While viewing their finished artwork, have student groups compose a summary paragraph of their research into Kline's life and work. Post artwork with writing in a prominent place in the classroom for peers to view.
  • Standards

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

    VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Franz Kline by Harry F. Gaugh; Franz Kline (1910-1962) edited by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, David Anfam, & Dore Ashton

    Invite a community member that is familiar with the history of coal mining in Pennsylvania to speak with the class. Prior to the meeting, students share and review photograph of coal-,\mining regions such as near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where Franz Kline grew up. Students compose questions for the expert. After the meeting, students post learning to a class blog.

    Encourage students to research the history and status of coal mining. In what areas of the world has coal been found? What are the types of coal? What has coal been used for? What mining and transportation techniques use coal? What are the benefits and limitations of burning coal? How does the energy efficiency of coal compare to other fuels for heating and generating electricity?


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