Crossing Borders/Breaking Boundaries
The Arts of India, 1556-1658
June 23 - July 1, 2008
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Unit of Study:            Measurements using visual arts of the Mughal Emperors

Lesson Title:             Elephant Folio

Discipline:                 Special Education, Art, Mathematics

Grade Level:             4th Grade

Author:                      Linda Waller

County:                      Baltimore City, MD

Time Period:              Two 45-minute classes



Students will measure various types of materials to create a simulated Indian designed “elephant” folio. The students will demonstrate proper use of a ruler and craftsmanship. Students will incorporate personal drawing within the portfolio.


In prior lessons students have used rulers to demonstrate inches in measurement of various items. Students have read books and viewed pictures of the Mughal Emperors, observed jewelry, clothing,worn Tikkas , Saris and tasted various foods prepared by a teacher from India.

Students will be able to locate India using a globe.

Students have looked at the book Muraqqa to view examples of Mughal art. They have learned that books were very important to the Mughals and they combined art and bookmaking to make many illustrated books to represent their love of nature and to show what that period in time actually looked like.

They have seen the elephant represented in these examples of Indian Art. They have also listened to the book “Elephant (Watch Me Grow) to learn more about the size of the Elephant. They will relate the elephant to the image of any item that is created larger than normal.


Heavy & light weight construction paper, drawing paper, water paint,  small pieces of sponges, brushes, bamboo skewers (stick twig),  rubber bands, ribbon, rulers, scissors, paper whole puncher, gift wrapping, glue, colored pencils, glitter, pictures, books, clothing made in India



Wright. Elaine. 2008. Muraqqa: Imperial Mughal Albums From The Chester Beatty Library. Dublin: The Chester Beatty Library.

2002. Scott Foresman Math Textbook: Grade 4. CA: Addison Wesley.

Fox, Gabrielle. 2000. The Essential Guide To Making Handmade Books. NJ: North Light Books.

DK Publishing. 2005. Elephant (Watch Me Grow). NY: DK Publishing.  Zimmer, Heinrich Robert. Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization. NY: Princeton University Press.


Standards/Learner Outcomes:

Fine Arts Standards

1.0 Perceiving, Performing, and Responding: Aesthetic Education-Students will demonstrate the ability to perceive, interpret, and respond to ideas, experiences, and the environment through visual art.
2.0 Historical, Cultural and Social Context: Students will demonstrate an understanding of visual art as an essential aspect of history and human experience.
3.0 Creative Expression and Production: Students will demonstrate the ability to organize knowledge and ideas for expression in the production of art.
4.0 Aesthetics and Criticism: Students will demonstrate the ability to identify, analyze, and apply criteria for making visual aesthetic judgments

Content Standards

Standard 3.0 Knowledge of Measurement
Standard 7.0 Process of Mathematics


Fine Arts Objectives

Students will be able to:

Identify and describe observed forms by analyzing ways that the elements of art, such as color lines, and shape are used to represent visual and tactile texture and movement in artworks.

Determine ways in which works of art express ideas about one’s self, other people, places and events by describing the process used to select ides, images and forms to express meaning in visual compositions

Create images and forms from observation, memory, and imagination by manipulating art media, and tools safety

Content Objectives

Students will be able to:

Relate or apply mathematics within the discipline, to other disciplines, and to life

Identify attributes, units, or systems of measurements or apply a variety of techniques, formulas, tools or technology for determining measurements.

Read customary and metric measurement units
a. Estimate and determine length and height


  • Inch
  • Foot
  • Tikka
  • Sara
  • bamboo
  • skewer
  • Mughal Emperors
  • Patch Work


Teacher will explain that their measurements will be used as a design element along with the other elements of shape, color, texture in the style used by artists during the reign of the Mughal Emperors.

The game will be used as a quick and fun way to review using a ruler to measure the materials to complete the task.

Computer Activity: Playing Measure Up on the Web site
Have the students play a game on the computer (Measure Up)

How To Play:

  • Fun Brain will show you a ruler with a red bar above it.
  • Click on the length of the red bar.
  • You can play with centimeters or inches. The advanced student will use centimeters

Scope and Sequence

Teacher Directed 

The teacher will show an example of the book to be created and will then show the students a run through with the supplies to illustrate the step by step directions they will use to create their own book. Students will then use the following directions to create their own book to decorate by drawing and using materials to show the design technique of patchwork favored by the Mughals.

Students will collect the following items

2 sheets of “11x 14” construction paper

6 sheets of “11x14” copy paper

Lay 1 sheet of construction paper on the desk

Lay 6 sheets of copy paper on it

Lay the other sheet of construction paper on top

Take a ruler and make a mark in the upper left hand corner one inch from the edge, make a mark one inch from the edge of the left hand side the bottom left hand corner, draw an 11 inch line by joining the two marks

Make a mark 3 inches from the top and 3 inches from the bottom and using a single whole puncher, punch a whole at each mark , next pull the rubber band through the wholes using bamboo skewer the  connect the bamboo skewer with the rubber band to the back of the book

Guided Practice

Students will construct a second book by following the same direction with from the teacher as needed

Independent Practice

Students will use scissors to cut wrapping paper and ribbons to decorate the covers of their books by gluing their decorations in place

Students will complete a drawing depicting the elements of shapes, color, designs, texture, shapes in the styles of their creations according to the technique of patchwork art observed during the Mughals.


Teacher observation: Teacher will check students work using a ruler to check if the correct measurements were used and the folio has been assembled correctly.

Students work will be examined for their patch work creativity and the use of the principles of Indian Art.


Students will have learned to measure one inch to the three inches, using a ruler as a measurement tool, and follow step by step instructions to assemble the elephant folio.

Students work will be examined for their patch work creativity and the use of the principles of Indian Art.

Students will be asked to answer the questions, “Why do you think we called our book an Elephant Folio?” Explain howdecorating our books remind you of what we have learned about India and the Mughal Empire?” “How did measuring to make your marks help you in making your book?”

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