Art and Design- A lesson plan

Seth Babson, Crocker Art Museum, Historic Building, 1872


Students will be able to identify shape, form, and volume (2-D vs. 3-D).

Students will be able to discuss architecture and its different purposes, as well as its relationship to visual art/design.

Students will be able to use basic construction principals to create 3-dimensional structures in small groups.


Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects, Crocker Art Museum, Teel Family Pavilion, 2010



Architecture: the art or practice of designing and constructing buildings.



About the Historic Building:
In 1868, Judge Edwin B. Crocker purchased the property and existing buildings on the corner of 3rd and O Streets. He then commissioned local architect Seth Babson (1830-1908) to renovate the home into a grander, Italianate mansion. In addition, Crocker asked Babson to design an elaborate gallery building adjacent to the mansion to display the family’s growing art collection.

Babson envisioned the home and gallery as an integrated complex, unique in design and built from the finest materials. The gallery building included a bowling alley, skating rink, and billiards room on the ground floor; a natural history museum and a library on the first floor; and gallery space on the second floor. Completed in 1872, the Crocker family mansion and art gallery are considered the masterpieces of Babson’s career. The family mansion went through several uses and reconstructions until a 1989 renovation restored the historic façade and created a modern gallery interior. The original buildings, now connected, as well as the since-demolished Herold Wing addition of 1969, were renamed the Crocker Art Museum in 1978. The gallery building is a California Historical Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


About the Teel Family Pavilion:
In 2000, the Crocker appointed a selection committee comprised of elected officials, community leaders, CAMA board members, city staff, and potential donors to search for an architect who would lead the Museum through master planning. After a comprehensive review of the world’s major museum architects, Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects (GSAA) was chosen to guide the process because of their design aesthetic and past experience. GSAA designed the expansion of the Crocker after conducting a thorough master planning process. Many voices from the community were involved in a collaborative process to ensure that the new building and the internal reconfiguration of the existing structures would work together as a whole. On October 10, 2010, the Crocker opened the 125,000-square-foot Teel Family Pavilion.


Opening Discussion

Discuss similarities and differences between the different Crocker buildings and other well-known structures
Give an overview of the history of the Museum’s architecture.
Discuss purposes of different architectural designs.


  • Divide classroom into small groups of 4 (or allow each student to create a small structure on their own).
  • Using paper, glue, and tape, have students plan, design, and construct a 3-D structure or structures inspired by one of the Crocker buildings.
  • In the last ten minutes of the work period, give students adornments to finish off their artwork


  • Thank them for their work. Tell them to take their collage home and share it with their friends and family. They can use their art in the same way you used the images in the beginning to teach people about art. 
  • Tell them that they’re going to move around the room and look at each other’s work. The structures will stay on the table and they will be moving. There are two rules for this activity: no talking, no touching. It’s a time to look, not talk or touch. Ask them to stand and push their chairs in and stand behind their desk. Remind them of no talking and no touching. They can walk around the room and return to their seat when they feel like they’ve seen everything.
  • If they want to share:  Have them to look at their work and think about what materials they used. What determined their choice of material? Did they enjoy this type of art?


CA State Standards



Construct evaluations
of a work of art or
collection of works
based on differing sets
of criteria.

Standards Arts
Creating (VA:Cr1.1; VA:Cr1.2; VA:Cr2.1; VA:Cr2.2; VA:Cr2.3; VA:Cr3); Presenting (VA:Pr4; VA:Pr5; VA:Pr6); Responding (VA:Re7.1; VA:Re7.2; VA:Re8; VA:Re9); Connecting (VA:Cn10; VA:Cn11)

ELA: College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading (R.CCR.1; R.CCR.2; R.CCR.4; R.CCR.5; R.CCR.6; R.CCR.7; R.CCR.8; R.CCR.9); College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing (W.CCR.9); College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening (SL.CCR.1; SL.CCR.2; SL.CCR.3; SL.CCR.4); College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language (L.CCR.1; L.CCR.3; L.CCR.4; L.CCR.6)



  • Thick paper for the base
  • construction paper/tag board
  • scissors
  • straight edge
  • pencils
  • colored tape
  • white glue, glue sticks
  • paper clips, staplers 
  • Adornments: Popsicle sticks, wire (aluminum and copper?), wooden clothes pins, pipe cleaners, aluminum squares


60 minutes

Grade Level



  • Architecture/Design
  • History/Social Studies
  • Visual Art


  • California Connections
  • Collaborative
  • Design


  • Paper