Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Grade 5 Gold Rush Artworks

Lesson Background:
As a part of our History unit, students have been learning about and researching 19th century significant people and events in Australian history.  One of these major events was the Gold Rush in the mid-19th century, which students have been fascinated to explore through a range of texts such as videos, websites and books.  This artwork was planned as a way for the students to imagine themselves actually there, in that moment in history. 

Lesson Materials (per student):

1 sheet A4 white cartridge paper
1 lead pencil
1 black fineliner pen
1 black and white photo of the student's face, trimmed to show no background
Watercolour paints & a brush OR coloured paper & glue
Shading powders:
1 gold pen

Lesson Steps:

1. With the lead pencil, draw in a large gumtree, and surrounding background of the goldfields (tents, mountains, rocks, a river or creek, etc.).  I allowed confident students to do this by themselves, while those students who were less confident sat on the floor with me, and we did some step-by-step guided drawing.  We particularly focused on not making what I call "broccoli trees"- we tried to have trees with natural curves and bumps, and scraggly foliage.  We also explored how to show shadow in their backgrounds.
2.  Students stuck on their photo head, and then used images of goldfields artworks, photos and illustrations to help them draw a body for themselves.
3.  Students outlined and shadowed all elements of their drawing.
4.  We then used watercolour paints or coloured paper scraps to colour their clothing.
5.  We then used smudging colours to add a little colour and atmosphere to their artwork.  We mixed a little black with the colours, to dull them.
6.  Finally, students used the gold pen to add little flecks of gold dust or nuggets into the water, rocks, or mining pans.

Student Artworks:






  1. Great work guys keep it up! (I can't wait to finish mine! =) )

  2. This artwork was really fun because I LOVED using the flip tip zip colours to colour are pictures.

  3. I loved how when we did the art work we made it look all dirty and smudged so it felt like we were actually there.

  4. These were really fun to do!! Using the flip, tip, zip colours were fun and made it look like the 19th century.