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Elementary [1st-5th] Lesson Plan

Koru: Art of the Maori

Created on March 14, 2016 by lightARTed

Students learn about the Maori people of New Zealand and artist Raewyn Harris. Students create koru designs using oil pastels. The koru is the Maori name for an unfurling fern frond known as the ponga plant that grows in New Zealand. It symbolizes new life, growth, strength and peace and is an integral symbol in Maori art and tattoos.

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4 sessions; 50 minutes per session

Students learn about the art and life of the Maori people of New Zealand.

Students become familiar with the koru art of Raewyn Harris.

Students demonstrate how to draw a spiral through the creation of a koru design like that of the Maori and artist Raewyn Harris.

Students learn a variety of oil pastel techniques and demonstrate that on their own drawings.

black card stock
pencils and erasers
oil pastels
stylus sticks for scratching into oil pastel (optional)

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1. Introduce lesson using PowerPoint presentation. Show koru samples from the Maori and Raewyn Harris.

2. Demonstrate how to draw a koru design, refer to Raewyn Harris artwork.

3. Students draw their designs with a pencil.

4. Demonstrate oil pastel techniques and how students should color their designs. Blending, scratching, highlights and shadows, pressing hard for brighter color, etc...

5. Students use oil pastels and the techniques demonstrated to color their pictures.

Did students draw at least 2 koru on their paper of 2 different sizes?

Did students utilize the space of their paper fully?

Did students use the oil pastels neatly and color using some of the techniques demonstrated by the teacher?


Visual Arts Standard 1:
Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

[K-4] Students use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner
[K-4] Students know the differences between materials, techniques, and processes

Visual Arts Standard 4:
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures

[K-4] Students know that the visual arts have both a history and specific relationships to various cultures
[K-4] Students identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places

Oceanic Art, Abstract Art

Proportion/Size, Proportion/Size, Line, Emphasis, Color/Value, Shape, Space

Drawing, Pastel

Geography, Multicultural Studies