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Elementary [1st-5th] Lesson Plan

The Pot that Juan Built

Created on March 17, 2013 by KatieMorris

Students create a pot using slab and coil handbuilding techniques. Inspired by pottery of Juan Quezada and "The Pot that Juan Built" by Nancy Andrews-Goebel.

8 Keeps, 1 Likes, 1 Comments

2 sessions; 40 minutes per session

1. The students will learn about and utilize clay handbuilding techniques including slab, coil, and attaching methods.
2. The students will understand that clay is a natural material that comes out of the earth.
3. The students will observe properties of wet clay and how the clay changes when dry.
4. The students will view and discuss the pottery of Juan Quezada and other Mata Ortiz potters.

1. Clay (regular or air dry)
2. Clay tools
3. Paint-tempera or watercolors
4. Black tempera paint
5. Paintbrushes- medium/large, and fine point

Need these materials? Visit Blick!

1. Demo
-Separate clay. About 1/3 for bottom, 2/3 for walls.
-Form slab, about as thick as pinky finger. Round or other shape.
-Roll coils
-Attach first coil to slab using "score, slip, squish, smooth", squishing any gaps and gently pulling sides up.
-Attach additional coils. Smooth inside, outside can be smooth or keep ridges.
2. Build clay pots as demonstrated
3. Listen to the Pot that Juan Built
-Teacher reads while students work. If you have longer classes, you can read the book before the demo.
-Juan calls slabs "tortillas" and coils "chorizo"- quiz students when this comes up!
4. Discuss Quezada/Mata Ortiz pottery (2nd class)
-Show images of pottery
-Ask students what they see
>What kind of colors did they use? Why? (Natural pigment)
>What are the designs made of? (Lines, shapes, patterns)
>How do the artists create unity?
5. Paint pots
-Watercolor or tempera cakes works great for the base coat. You can limit color palette or let students choose.
-Provide black liquid tempera and smaller brushes so students can create designs with lines and shapes on top of base coat.

I don't usually use rubrics since my students aren't graded in art, instead we do one-on-one critiques as they finish each step, especially building with wet clay. We look at craftsmanship- are the coils attached securely? Are any spots in the slab base or the walls too thin? Are the coils fairly even?


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

[K-4] Students use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories
[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
[5-8] Students analyze, describe, and demonstrate how factors of time and place (such as climate, resources, ideas, and technology) influence visual characteristics that give meaning and value to a work of art

Form, Unity/Harmony


Multicultural Studies

  • Hope200 05/09/2013 at 09:05am
    Thanks for this lesson. My students adore working with clay and this will be perfect to tie in with the book and dvd.