Population and Perspectives: Prompts for Extended Thinking

Population and Perspectives: Prompts for Extended Thinking

Use these prompts after your Evans Distance Learning session or museum visit to activate creative, critical, and reflective thinking.

Grade Level:
Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12
American Art
Subject Area:
English, History and Social Science, Visual Arts
Activity Type:
Distance Learning

Population and Perspectives: Prompts for Extended Thinking

Creative Thinking

Using our imaginations when looking at art can activate prior knowledge and spark curiosity. Ask students to recall their Evans DLP visit and try this activity.

Pick one person from the party in Archibald Motley’s painting Town of Hope. Pick another person from George Bellow’s painting Kids. Would these two people ever have crossed paths? Why or why not? Imagine if these two were to meet in person. What do you suppose the interaction would be like? What might these two people have in common? What might they need to explain to one another? Creatively share your ideas in the voice of each character by, for example, performing a sketch, crafting a comic strip, or writing and illustrating a story.

Archibald Joh, Motley, Jr., American, 1891-1981
Town of Hope, 1927
Oil on Canvas
J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Fund for American Art

George Bellows, American, 1882 - 1925
Kids, 1906
Oil on canvas
The James W. and Frances Gibson McGlothlin Collection

Critical Thinking

Looking closely at art helps us explore viewpoints from the past. During your Evans DLP visit, students practiced looking carefully to interpret what artists can tell us about the time in which they lived. Ask students to consider other works of art. Use the Looking to Learn: Perceive, Know, Care About strategy to examine some of the works below.

Reflective Thinking

Thinking about our experience with art helps us connect to people and ideas across time and place. Ask students to reflect on their Evans DLP visit with one or more of the following prompts.

  • Having spent time with American Art at VMFA, what more do you know about modern America? How do you imagine the lives of the artists and the people they painted were similar or different to your own?
  • What did the art NOT answer for you? What are you curious about now that you have seen the art of the United States as it entered the 20th century? Name three things that you wish you knew more about and why. Visit your school library and databases to research the answers to your questions.
  • Imagine you were to time travel and visit America about 1900. Based on what you have seen in the art at the VMFA, what would you expect it to be like? What would it sound, smell, look and feel like? What about YOU would surprise an American from about 1900?