Authors: Jennifer Barron, Kennedy High School Melissa Covington Tanner, Art Institute of Chicago Sara Jatcko, Terra Foundation for American Art Joel Javier, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art Sheri Snopek, Columbus Elementary School Lauren C. Watkins, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Manuel Valderrama, Lane Tech College Prep High School With contributions from: Mary […]


Summary The theme of identity is explored in these two lessons by examining how one’s identity can be forged and how it can be remade after a devastating loss. Students look closely a serigraph print, photographs, and a sculpture to analyze how elements of one’s identity can be expressed. They analyze related informational texts and […]


Summary These four lessons explore how tragedy and triumph transformed Chicago in the late 1800s, and how that transformation had ripple effects around the world. Students examine various works of art, informational texts, and primary sources in order to analyze how Chicago was transformed by the devastation of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, the […]

Migrations to Chicago

Summary These theme-related lessons explore the motivating forces, expectations, and realities found by Eastern European, Mexican, and African American immigrants and migrants who moved to Chicago from 1890 through 1950, and examine the ways these newcomers adapted to their new home. Students closely examine various works of art, including paintings, photographs, a lithograph, and a […]

The Dust Bowl Experience

Summary The epic stories of hardship and survival during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl have inspired numerous artists and authors to think critically about the era and the experiences of those who lived at that time. These theme-related lessons provide a framework for closely reading and comparing a range of images and texts about […]