Classroom Resources

Online Lesson Plans

MCASD is dedicated to supporting educators and providing resources to promote art education in the classroom and out-of-school time learning environment.

The Museum’s Education Department offers a variety of standards-based lesson plans that can be adapted for various grade levels and subjects, utilize inexpensive materials, and promote class dialogue regarding contemporary artists and the culture of our time.

Please click on the links below to download PDF lesson plans based on MCASD collection piece and exhibitions:

A Personal Perspective

Inspired by the works featured in Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection, this lesson plan is designed to inspire educators to extend the Museum visit into the classroom. Students will discuss how the artists in the collection were affected by their personal history and produce a “me” box, drawing from their own personal backgrounds and life experiences.

Mapping Identity

Drawing upon the theme of self-identification through geographic location evident in the American artist Iana Quesnell’s work Triptych: Migration Path , students will be given the opportunity to distinguish the cultural, political, and social ways in which they relate to their physical surroundings. This one and a half hour-long lesson plan allows students grades 9-12th to collaborate and produce a piece of art that speaks to their individual and collection experiences and identity.


Based on the works of contemporary Southern California artists such as Larry Bell and John McCracken, students will use new, nontraditional materials as artistic mediums to analyze the effects of light, space, and surface on their compositions. This lesson plan is designed for grades 6-12 and encourages the discussion of artistic process and the impact a piece of art has on the surrounding environment.

California Landscape Mural

In this one-session lesson plan students will create a collaborative mural of a landscape, incorporating complementary colors and contrast. This lesson is designed for grades 4-5 and will take approximately 1 ½ hours to complete.

Recycled Sculpture

Using recycled materials, students will create a sculpture using additive and subtractive processes in a 45 minute class session. This lesson plan is designed for 3rd- 5th grade classes.


In this lesson, students will be guided by steps as they create a self-portrait using colored pastels. They will also use their self-portraits as a springboard to write a personal narrative. This lesson plan is designed for 3rd- 5th grade classes, and will take approximately 1 ½ hours to complete in one session.

Objects as Identity

Based on Rochelle Costi's Quartos , this lesson provides students with the opportunity to use one-point perspective to create a drawing of a room featuring items that reveal their identity. This lesson is designed for grades 4-6, and fills approximately one 90 minute class session.

Tattooing Objects

Inspired by the work of Dr. Lakra, an artist featured in MCASD's Viva la Revolucion , this lesson plan provides students with the opportunity to layer a tattoo design on a found object of their choice. Discussion questions are included to develop a conversation about the aesthetic value of what is conventionally thought of as a "low" artform. This lesson is oriented towards High School students, and will take 2-3 hours.