Harry Hoag Elementary students channel
Michelangelo during history activity
Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
ceiling between 1508 and 1512 and his work remains a focal point of
Renaissance art. During a recent history unit on the Renaissance,
Cheryl Toomey’s sixth grade students at Harry Hoag Elementary
learned all about the painter and some of the other famous artists
at the time.
But during the unit, Mrs. Toomey posed a question to her students:
how difficult do you think it was for Michelangelo to paint the
Sistine Chapel ceiling by lying on his back?
Instead of letting them answer, she charged the students with
“They got the idea that it wasn’t an easy job and it’s hard to
create art when you’re in that position,” she said. “So, they taped
a piece of paper under their desks and used crayons and colored
pencil to create a piece of art.”
Mrs. Toomey said her students learned how during the Renaissance
the artists mastered perspective (or how each painting had a
background and foreground) and how painting evolved from ancient
Egypt to the modern day. She said the lesson reinforced the concept
that everything in history changes over time.
“They were excited about the project and it gave them a concept of
how that painting would have been done. Kids don’t think of that
unless you have them dive right in and experience it,” she said.