Crossing Borders/Breaking Boundaries
The Arts of India, 1556-1658
June 23 - July 1, 2008
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Unit of Study:      Art / (Connections with Science / Language Arts / Social Studies)

Lesson Title:        Structures of Power and Beauty

Discipline:            Art

Grade Level:        5th Grade

Author:                  Donna Ellerman

County:                 Montgomery County, MD

Time Period:        Four to Six class periods, 50 minutes each


Students will learn about the architecture of Mughal India and compare it to architecture in Washington, DC.  They will create mixed media two dimensional work that they can include in a handmade book or display.


Governments and rulers throughout history have built large beautiful structures which demonstrate their wealth and power.  Architects and engineers have been employed to design and build these structures for various purposes, such as palaces, mansions, and work places for rulers, leaders, and government officials, monuments, religious buildings, forts, and tombs.   These are structures that can last for many centuries.  Mughal India refers to the empire of Islamic rulers of Northern India in the 1500s and 1600s.  They created amazing buildings that still exist today.  The United States built beautiful buildings in Washington DC for federal government functions.  The teacher will show visuals of these buildings and explain location (using maps), dates, and functions of the buildings.  Books, photos, and prints of art work with these buildings can be used for facts and observational drawing.


Photos, prints, and books with pictures of Mughal and DC architecture,  12 x 15 in.  80 lb. white drawing paper, (or water color paper of appropriate size), pencils, sharpie type pens, water color pencils, small brushes, water, books- Taj Mahal; Cathedral; other books by David Macaulay



Arnold, Caroline and Madeline Comora.  Taj Mahal  2007
Macaulay, David.  Cathedral  1973

Internet Resources

  • For Montgomery county curriculum student outcomes go to:  

  • For Maryland voluntary state curriculum go to:

  • For images of Mughal monuments go to: select India and look under Agra and Delhi.

  • For Washington DC buildings go to:

Standards/Learner Outcomes:

Fine Arts Standards

  • VSC:  Fifth grade; 1.0: 1a, b; 2.a;   2.0: 2.a; 3.a;   3.0:1 a, b, c

Content Standards

  • MCPS Curriculum for fifth grade social studies- branches of government
  • MCPS Curriculum for fifth grade language arts- writing process; VSC: 4.0 A2c

Objectives /Skills:

Fine Arts Objectives:

  • The student will combine lines and shapes to do one observational drawing of a building from the Mughal Empire or a Washington, DC government building.
  • The student will observe and add architectural details to their drawing.
  • The student will use pens to enhance lines, and add hatching and stippling to create at least three values to show shading and shadows.
  • The student will mix colors to create new colors by adding water color pencil and water to the negative spaces around their drawing.

Content Objectives:

  • The student will be able to identify at least one Mughal Empire building and at least one Washington, DC government building.
  • The student will write a paragraph about their drawing which includes the name, location, and function of the building they chose.


  • Architecture
  • Mughal Empire
  • India
  • value
  • hatching
  • stippling
  • negative space
  • Taj Mahal
  • White House
  • Capital
  • Supreme Court Building
  • column
  • arch
  • dome
  • minarets
  • frieze
  • balcony
  • pediment


Use a photograph of the Taj Mahal with the group to do an “I see/ I think/I wonder” exercise as an activator.   Read a portion of Taj Mahal by Caroline Arnold and Madeline Comora

 Scope and Sequence:
Part One

Teacher Directed:

  • Look at a photo of the Taj Mahal.  Discuss it using “I see/I think/I wonder.”
  • Read parts of Taj Mahal by Caroline Arnold, paraphrase the rest of the story.                                                                                                                                                                    
  • Guide discussion of architecture of Mughal India and Washington DC government buildings.  Find parts of buildings, compare and contrast.  Discuss building function and location.
  • Demonstrate how to start an architectural drawing.

Guided Practice:

  • Teacher circulates giving suggestions and helping individuals with their drawings.

Independent Practice:

  • Students choose an architectural subject and draw it large with pencil on 12 x 15 in. white paper or water color paper.

Part Two

Teacher Directed:

  • Have students examine photos of buildings and look for shadows.  Talk about what causes shadows.
  • Look at drawings that use stippling and hatching to show light, medium, dark and graded values.  David Macaulay’s books such as Cathedral work well.
  • Demonstrate how to create values with pen and ink using stippling and hatching.

Guided Practice:

  • Students practice stippling and hatching on handouts while teacher checks individuals for understanding.

Independent Practice:

  • Students finish pencil drawing.
  • Students go over pencil lines with sharpie type pens.
  • Students add stippling and hatching to their drawings.

Part Three

Teacher Directed – Day Three:

  • Use color chart to review color mixing.
  • Discuss negative space.
  • Demonstrate adding color to negative spaces on drawing using water color pencils and brush and water to blend color.

Guided Practice – Day Three:

  • Practice mixing colors with the water color pencils.  Teacher circulates to help students with color mixing questions.        

Independent Practice- Day Three:

  • Students add color to their negative spaces with water color pencils.                   
  • They can use small brushes and water to mix and blend colors.


Part One

Students fill out a fact sheet about their drawing which includes the name of      their building, where it is located, and what is the function of their building.

Part Two

Student work sheet for stippling and hatching has the words “light”, medium”, “dark”, and “graded”.  They are to draw lines to show where they achieved these values with stippling or hatching.

Part Three

Students write a paragraph about their work using their day one assessment fact sheet.  They should include other information such as how they added shadows or why they chose the colors for their negative space.


Students take a gallery walk.


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Sponsored by
the Center for Renaissance & Baroque Studies
and the Maryland State Department of Education