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Pros: Lots of great activities that encourage creativity blended with critical thinking about social issues.
Cons: There aren't lessons per se, so teachers will need to find a way to integrate the content.
Bottom Line: A wonderful site that really engages kids in the world of art and provides great inspirations.
Tate Kids gives teachers a collection of art projects and information they can use in their own classes to inspire students. It's great for independent study units or to provide further information on art forms being studied in class. There are two interactive tools (Tate Paint and Street Art) that allow students to create their own pieces of art work. These tools can be used as a starting point for projects or used as the projects themselves. Explorations of artists and art styles include written descriptions, images, and videos and can be used for research for projects.
While the focus is on artists from Britain, there are explorations of different art styles and periods that would make a great supplement to classroom teaching. It has lots of ideas for integrating technology and movement into the art as well. The quizzes are fun ways to get students to think about art and artists in ways that are directly connected to them.
It's especially worth noting that Tate Kids has a clear commitment to social justice, and there are activities and explorations that make great starting points for discussions on topics like race and equity in the art world.
Tate Kids is a free website for kids that's offered by the world-renowned Tate Modern museum in London. The Tate Kids website is broken into three main parts: Make, Games and Quizzes, and Explore. The Make section has hands-on activities with step-by step-instructions. The activities get students making sculptures, painting, practicing movement, crafting, and using technology. Beyond the instructions, the activities contain background information on what inspired them (an artist or art type) and feature some videos and illustrations. Games and Quizzes has simple quizzes that ask students questions like "Which Art Animal Are You?" and "What Kind of a Colour Are You?" Interactive games allow students to create and share their creations (with parents permission) in a moderated gallery. The Explore section contains information on various artists, mediums, and genres with images, videos, and questions for the students to think about.
One of the best things about Tate Kids is how it gets students interested through activities and then links that interest, and the activities, back to profiled artists and art forms -- many of which aren't often discussed in elementary or middle school. This is modeled in the structure of the site, where the Make section might be the place students visit first to have some fun, and then when something intrigues them they can head over to the Explore section to dig a little deeper. Teachers can take advantage of this learning cycle, directing students back to the Make or Games section to express what they learned through a new activity. There's also an admirable focus on infusing students' perspectives, questions, and thoughts into the site. For instance, in the Explore section, featured stories, videos, and Q&As represent the interests and perspectives of young people.
The site is strong overall but does have a couple of areas for development. It'd be nice to see Tate Kids feature more implementation ideas and supports, including lesson plans and assessments, to inspire the connection of Explore activities to curricular objectives and learning standards. Tate Kids also has room to grow in terms of integrating student voice and perspective. It features student-submitted art work, but giving visitors to the site more of an opportunity to contribute more to the Kids View section would be great, and a nice way to keep classrooms coming back.