Odyssey of the Mind Curriculum Activity: Performing Arts
Primary Goal: Students will learn about the classical arts and how they impact our society.
Secondary Goals:
Increase appreciation for the arts
Develop presentation skills incorporating various media
Raise awareness about different art forms that are available
Learn to critique the work of others
Prep Time

1 hour

-- Individuals
-- Entire class
-- Small groups

Research Sources

Art supplies
Classical arts education should be embedded in learning about the uniqueness of a culture through the lens of its literature, music, and its visual and performing arts. An in-depth study of a society can be experienced and documented through its art. As a society evolves so does its art, and the research of the past is enriched by the contributions that artists have made. This activity is project-based and provides opportunities for cooperative learning. Students will need access to the Internet and the library for primary resources.

 1.  Ask students to define the term the arts. Have them identify the different "arts" that their society offers. Have one student record the list on the board.
 2.  After the various areas of art are listed, have the students discuss how these art forms affect their lives. Talk about popular examples of each one.
 3.  Discuss the difference between "classical" art and "popular" art.

DAY 2 Divide the students into small groups and assign each group an area of the arts from their list. Have each group do the following:
 1.  Investigate and research the history of their selected art form and its impact on society throughout the years, e.g., music, from religious chants to rap.
 2.  Create a presentation of their art form using the art form itself; for example, a lesson on music could be presented through a rock opera, a lesson on poetry could be given in a poem, etc. Encourage the groups to incorporate different media such as PowerPoint, props, and video.

 1.  Introduce art criticism and the difference between criticizing and critiquing. Bring clippings from your local paper, the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, etc. and read different types of art reviews -- music, theatre, film, and so on.
 2.  Have each group critique the other groups' presentations: What they liked about them and why, how they could have been improved, etc. Set criteria for the evaluations such as quality, level of research, humor, educational value, etc.
 3.  Hold a class discussion about the presentations, with the groups offering their critiques of each.

Hold an "Art Appreciation Day" for the school and have the groups give their presentations to the other classes. Have them brainstorm on how it could become an annual event, involving the entire school.

Hold a monthly "Art Report" and have each student in the class list the art forms that he/she participated in, for example, watching a movie, buying a cd, going to a concert.