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Art Awareness Lesson Plan – Chesley Bonestell
ELA Theme:
Unit 3: Discover a Mystery challenges students to uncover new knowledge through inquiry. The
process of investigation always leads to answers and often leads us to ask new questions.
 To examine the work of the father of modern space art and his impact on science fiction writers and
 To encourage students to think about topics or places they would like to learn more about
 Power Point presentation
 Blank paper
 Crayons/pencils – provided by the student
 Background: Bonestell (pronounced BON-uh-stell) is considered the father of modern space art. He drew
from the tradition of the Hudson River School by valuing the romance and emotion of a place over the
accuracy of the work. At the same time, his work is amazing for its use of pioneering, almost
photographic realism. His depictions of stars and planets weren’t just figments of the imagination but
he created real places you could potentially go to. His work influenced many people to become
astronomers and science fiction writers. At the cusp of space exploration, he wondered “what if” and
inspired many others to do so as well.
 You may want to read about the art and artist online or at the library prior to giving this presentation.
Here are some websites to get you started:
Use the accompanying Power Point (or create your own) to highlight the life and works of Chesley
Bonestell. If possible, try to highlight the uniqueness of his style & topics and the impact of both on
the western world.
Final Product: Once you have completed your Power Point about Bonestell, connect the concept of
space art to the story the students are reading in class. Ask them why they think space intrigues
people. Discuss the idea that because space is mysterious, people try to learn more. Likewise, the
workings of the human body are mysterious as are the deepest oceans…these places (along with
countless others) encourage speculation, discovery, and curiosity. Thinking about all of the exploration
going on today – brain mapping, the outer reaches of space, the depths of the ocean, and the capacity
of cyber space – if Bonestell were alive today, what frontier should he depict? Have the students
create their own picture inspired by that frontier. Make sure they include a title or caption for their
work. If time allows, have the students share their ideas/pictures with the class.
Parent Contact:
After completing the art awareness lesson with the students, please send a note home to explain what
you did and why to the caregivers. You can print out the note and send it home or email it to the classroom
teacher and ask him or her to forward it to families.
Parent Contact example letter:
Art Awareness Presentation – KW
March 26, 2014
Dear Caregivers,
Today in your child’s class, an Art Awareness presentation and art project was completed. After
reading How to Become a Perfect Knight in Five Days by Pierrette Dube, we talked about real knights and
heraldry. Noting that few people could read in the Middle Ages, pictures were an important way to tell people
something about yourself and your family. Also, the kids noticed that once in their armor, all of the knights
looked the same. Having a family crest (heraldry) on the shields helped soldiers identify each other in battle.
We talked about the meaning behind some of the colors and pictures that you might have found on a knight’s
shield, and then the kids had a chance to create their own shield. I hope you enjoy the final product!
There are many fiction and non-fiction books at the Naperville Public Library about knights and the
Medieval Era if you and your child would like explore the topic further. You can also check out this fun
website to create another coat of arms.
Sandy Beris
This program is brought to the students and teachers by the May Watts Art Awareness PTA committee.