Still Life Painting Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Can common objects become the focus of beautiful artwork? Of course they can, and that is the hallmark of still life painting. This lesson plan uses a video lesson and a hands-on group activity to engage students as they learn the intricacies of still life painting.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define 'still life painting.'
  • Summarize the key characteristics of still life painting.
  • List the commonly used mediums for still life painting.


60 to 90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.


Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.


Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).


Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic.



  • Begin by displaying the images exemplifying still life paintings for the class.
    • What do these paintings have in common?
    • How would you describe the paintings?
  • Pass out the paper copies of the text lesson to the class, one per student.
  • Ask the class to read the introduction and the 'Capturing the Ordinary' section of the text lesson.
    • Did anyone guess that the images on display in the classroom are examples of still life paintings?
    • What is a 'still life painting?'
    • What types of objects can be used as the subjects of still life paintings?
    • How can the arrangement of still life objects impact the painting?
  • Tell students to read the 'The Paints' section of the text lesson.
    • What are the most common mediums used for still life painting?
    • What are the benefits of each medium?
  • Have the students read the 'Lesson Summary' section of the text lesson before continuing.
  • Review key facts about still life painting with the class before continuing.
  • Distribute the worksheet to the students.
  • Have students use what they learned in the text lesson to complete the worksheet.
  • When all students have completed the worksheet, review each question in an open discussion as you allow students to justify their quiz responses.

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