Mat Weight in the Form of a Bear (detail), 206 BC–AD 24. China, Western Han Dynasty. Gilt Bronze; 6-1/8 in. John L. Severence Fund 1994.203

A Is for Animal

Grade Level: 
Student Level: 

This lively 30-minute videoconference introduces young viewers to real and imaginary animals found in sculpture and paintings at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Students learn why animals are important to different cultures, and how artists capture the appearance and behavior of these animals. As a culminating activity in the classroom, students brainstorm to create their own griffin-like animals.

Program Format: 
  • Open with discussion of animal representations in art.
  • Discuss how artists capture the appearance, behavior, movement, etc. of animals.
  • View/Discuss artworks that include representations of birds, a dog, a cat, etc.
  • Examine a Chinese bear sculpture, followed by a short movement activity.
  • Discuss imaginary (composite) animals, such as a griffin.
  • Students brainstorm to create their own imaginary animals.
  • Students will learn about how animals are portrayed in art and sculpture.
  • Students will learn how artists convey not only the appearance of an animal (the shape, the texture, the color, etc.), but sometimes also the behavior or the personality of an animal.
  • Students will learn the importance of animals in history and cultures.
  • Students will learn that art is made in different cultures using different mediums.