Aesthetics: Ross Elementary

Students participating in an Aesthetics gallery activity at the Carnegie Museum of Art

Karen Jones, Art, Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program
M.Devlin, 5th Grade 
Maddy Gillingham, 6th Grade 
Nicole Dezelon & Tresa Varner, Warhol Education Staff
Jordan Crosby, Carnegie Museum of Art Staff

Fifth and sixth grade students in the GATE program at Ross Elementary used the PowerPoint presentation and various lessons in the Aesthetics Unit to produce written reflections, visual representation, analysis and stories identifying aesthetic qualities from various time periods and cultures. Both the literacy and social studies teachers worked in the development of this program as well as staff from The Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art.

Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Devlin adapted the writing prompts from Lesson 3 in the Aesthetics Unit to capture the students’ understanding and ability to synthesize both personal and philosophical definitions of aesthetics and their application in everyday life. Fifth grade students created photo-collages using magazine images to illustrate their own personal aesthetic. Staff from The Andy Warhol Museum visited the school with camouflage pattern silkscreens and led a discussion about the aesthetics of camouflage, both in fashion and as a functional disguise. The conversation led to a discussion about “real” camouflage vs. urban camouflage (brightly-colored fashion statements). The students made their own camo-printed t-shirts, selecting colors based on their own aesthetic.

The 6th grade students used the Extension Activity in Lesson 4 to respond in writing to the philosophical statement of a museum curator. During their visits to both The Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art they explored the notion of Beauty Across Time. Working with the Art, English and Social Studies teachers, the students filled out a chart about aesthetic details from different times as evidenced through artworks; they created prints and drawings to mirror aesthetics of those times and created mythological stories and fables from various objects that they experienced in the museums.

Student Reviews:


I learned what the word 'aesthetics' means, it’s an artist’s choice. Just like us, when we chose between blue, pink or brown. I chose brown and black [for the camouflage t-shirt print].

Joshua K., 5th grade, Ross Elementary  

I think art should be difficult to experience. People don’t stop to think about paintings. I once went to an art museum for a field trip and the guide made us stop and think about the art. I got a lot more out of that trip than I ever got out of going to an art museum and just looking at the paintings and not thinking about it.

Rachel, 6th grade, Ross Elementary  

I go to museums to enter a different world, one created by the artist. If the creation is very clear, it is simple to enter, but in more abstract designs, the artist leaves the world’s creation to the viewer. In that kind of art, the artist gives the people the freedom to invent their own world and to experience the artwork the way they want.

Eric, 6th grade, Ross Elementary  
Image Gallery
Ross student takes notes while viewing the Pop Art PowerPoint available in this Web site.
Aesthetics Projects with Ross Elementary