Colorful Bird Chatline

Lesson Plan, Grades 4-6, Art, Math, Science, Collage, Mixed Media


Lesson Plan and Artwork by Phyllis M. Annett

By forming simple shapes and fractions of the same, students will create a mixed media collage study of birds.


  • This mixed media lesson will enable students to see how math concepts are a part of making art.
  • Students will be able to realize that mixed media allow them to be even more creative with color and texture.
  • Students will learn how to use circle-makers and rulers for parts of their composition.
  • The study of birds and their shapes and colors will show students that science is also a part of art.

Supplies Needed

Plastic Crayons, Set of 12
Gel Watercolor Crayons, Set of 10
Colored Pencils, Set of 24
Acrylic Paint, 0.34 oz, Set of 24
Ultra-Washable Duo Color Markers, Assorted Colors, Set of 10
Large Paintbrush Variety
Metric Conversion Ruler
Hot Press Watercolor Pads
Manila Drawing Paper
*Here are the supplies needed for this lesson plan for reference. Find a convenient carousel of shoppable products for this lesson below.


Standard #2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Standard #3: Define and complete artistic work.
Standard #5: Develop and refine artistic work for presentation.
Standard #7: Perceive and analyze artistic work.
Standard #10: Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.



Inform students that they will use a ruler and a circlemaker to create a mixed media collage of birds in their natural habitat. Demonstrate how to use the circlemaker and have students use manila paper to make and cut circles to use as templates. Also, instruct and demonstrate how to fold and get halves, quarters and eighths from a circle shape. These pieces will become the body, head, wings, tail and beak of each bird they create. Make a large bird to show the students a completed bird made from the parts of circles. Have a short discussion and some visuals about birds and their habitats for inspiration. Discuss the parts of a good composition.


Instruct students to experiment on manila paper with the crayons, pencils and markers to color their birds.


Next give students a sheet of watercolor paper to paint the background of the picture with the Gel Watercolors. The background could include houses, trees, clouds, plants, insects and small animals, grass and sky. Suggest the painting of small birds in the distance, maybe flying over the composition. They can draw these in with the colored pencils. Remind students to use the ruler to get vertical details of the background straight. Set the paintings aside to dry.


Give students another sheet of watercolor paper to create the collage pieces of the composition. Demonstrate how to use a combination of crayons, markers and colored pencils to color the surface of the bird parts. Suggest that the bird bodies can be patterns of colors or random designs to give the birds extra character. They can create as many birds as they can fit into composition. Remind students of the rules of perspective: those items in the distance appear smaller than those in the foreground.


Assemble and use the paste to glue all the parts of the birds together except the legs and feet. Those will be drawn directly on the background. If the students have made bugs and flowers, etc., as collage pieces, add them lastly add them to the picture. Display and discuss the mixed media collages with pride!