Lesson Plan

Impressionism Art Project

Analyze the characteristics of Impressionist art and describe how they reflect the cultural mood of the 19th-century
Andrew T.
Classroom teacher
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My Subjects Social Studies
  • Students will be able to analyze a piece of Impressionist art and describe the characteristics it displays.
  • Students will be able to create an interactive online image to display their analysis.
  • Students will be able to write an essay to summarize their learning and justify their assertions.


Social Studies
cultural understanding
Grades 9 - 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Activity: Other — Video: Introduction to 19th Century Art

Take notes from this video about each of the major art movements of the 19th century.

2 Direct Instruction

Activity: Other — Video: What is Impressionism?

Watch this video and then orally complete this paragraph.

Impressionism is about the nature of fugitive light falling on surfaces. This play of _____, as opposed to stationary light, expresses the _____ (lasting for a markedly brief time) quality of modernity. Impressionism is about the _____, the here and now, and not about the timeless, the forever. Impressionism is about life lived in bursts of _____ in the city. It’s about faster speeds, quickly moving clouds, sunshine reflected on water, and the shimmer of satin ribbons dangling from a baby’s cradle. Above all, Impressionism is about modernity: its _____ and various improvements in the quality of daily life. It is about _____ activities: shopping, vacationing, rushing, strolling, lingering, waiting, working and taking time off to flirt in a Montmartre dance hall or a restaurant on the Seine. The artists who seemed to _____ down these instances of modern life were playfully dubbed “Impressionists” and their paintings became known as “Impressionism.” The Impressionists’ technique developed during the late _____. In the earliest reviews, one of Claude Monet’s works in 1873, titled - Impression: Sunrise inspired the critical nickname “_____.”

3 Independent Practice

Free, Paid

Select one of the samples of Impressionist art shown here and use thinglink.com to create an interactive art analysis. Read the "more information" page below the image and this background reading to learn information to include in these  topics:

  • Subject
  • Brushstrokes
  • Lines
  • Colors
  • Shadings
  • Perspective (focal point)
  • Background

4 Direct Instruction

Activity: Exploring

Watch this video. In your notes, reflect on how Monet's method of painting outdoor light compares to the traditional methods? Explain: “Not what I know; what do I see?”

5 Direct Instruction

Activity: Reading

Write an essay explaining your thinglink image and how it fits in the larger historical context of Impressionism and the 19th century.

Your teacher will provide specific essay instructions. Use these readings for background information

6 Wrap-up

Activity: Other — Video: Learn How to Paint
  • Watch this video to wrap-up the project.