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Level: Junior, Middle
Grades: 3-8 | Age: 8-14 | Written by: Laura McAlpin
[Laura is an art educator at Inwood Primary in Martinsburg, West Virginia.]

Students can play a guessing game which will teach them more about artists and art history.


Learning about art history.

What You Need:
What You Do:

This is a WONDERFUL game inspired by the old game show "To Tell The Truth". I created about 20 or so "Artist Fact Sheets" with the name of famous artists on them and a short list of facts about that artist (his/her style, his/her life, his/her birthplace, etc. I also used historical GROUPS that impacted art history: "prehistoric man", "native american", "egyptian", etc. Laminate for durability.

Choose 3 students to be the contestants and give each of them a Fact Sheet. They are - from that moment on - the artist on the card! Have them sit in 3 chairs in front of the class. Remind them that their identity is a secret and to hold their cards close their body. While they are reading their facts sheet to learn about themselves, give the rules to the rest of the class: as follows:

  1. Each student in the class gets ONE question. Emphasize that it is important that they listen to all questions to help with their guess.

  2. We are only looking for ONE artist. One of the artists at the front of the room is who we are looking for, the others are imposters. The imposters will NOT have the correct artist fact sheet - so they may or may not know the answers to their questions.

  3. The REAL artist MUST ALWAYS answer the question as honestly as he can. The other two may bluff. (This is an important rule, make sure to explain this several times to the class and the 3 contestants)

  4. If the REAL artist HONESTLY does NOT know the answer to a question he is allowed to say "I don't know", but he may NOT lie! The other two may also answer "I don't know" to appear to be like the real artist, or they can make something up if they do not know the answer! The object is to fool the class!!

  5. The contestants may get into character. Use accents and be dramatic! (they LOVE this)

  6. The questions asked by the class MUST be art or artist related. Give them examples at first until they get the hang of it. Remind them that CAN ask the same question twice - just ask another contestant!

  7. When everyone has asked one question, each student votes on who the real artist is. Everyone who guesses correctly gets a reward. (I usually give them one animal cookie!)

  8. The students will be very eager to discuss the details of the artists that they have learned about (and they will learn SO much with this game!) We recap our "Artist Facts" to close.

This is HIGHLY successful. It does take a while for the students to get the hang of it, but when they do, it will be all they talk about! All students were on task, learning about art and loving every minute!

Recommended Books/Products:

Jumpstart Artist software
by Knowledge Adventure; Activity Guide by Andrea Mulder-Slater
Budding artists can get a jumpstart on their masterpieces thanks to an innovative new kids creativity program from educational software leader Knowledge Adventure®. JumpStart Artist™ provides children ages 5 - 8 a world of creative fun, while covering the basics of art history, painting, drawing, collage, folk art, crafts and more.

Discovering Great Artists
by MaryAnn F. Kohl, Kim Solga, Rebecca Van Slyke
All the ideas in this book reflect the style or techniques of great painters and artists such as Monet, van Gogh, Rembrant, da Vinci, over 80 artists from the Renaissance to the present day.

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