Holiday villages are a tradition that can be found all over the world. In this middle school arts integration lesson, students explore the similarities and differences in these villages as well as design and construct unique versions based on their own town. This lesson explores the social studies concept of culture, paired with the visual arts standard of connecting how art reflects changing times, traditions, resources, and cultural uses.
What’s fascinating about this lesson is the concept of the holiday villages themselves. This article from the Baltimore Sun showcases a few examples of winter markets around the world, but there are literally thousands of festivals/villages/markets that you could research and explore. The development of these marketplaces really hinge on showcasing the artistic talents of individuals in the community, so this lesson could even extend into a study on the effect of art on a local economy.
MOVING TO STEAM
This lesson could easily translate into a STEAM lesson with a few adjustments. First, you’ll need to adjust your intended focus into the design and construction of the village through engineering standards, as well as the organizing/creating visual art standards. Also, you’ll want to spend a greater amount of time on exploring how to construct using cardboard and the various art materials. So be sure to model and experiment using something like the Global Cardboard Challenge first.
As you continue through the holiday season with your students, I hope this lesson provides a fresh twist on some old favorite lessons. For more free arts integration and STEAM lessons, be sure to visit our lesson page!
Susan Riley is the founder and President of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.