Sunlight, Shimmer and Shadow

Lesson Plan, Grades 4-12, Science, Art, Drawing, Painting


Lesson Plan & Artwork by Nadine Dresbach

In this lesson the student will explore places and images with personal meaning that demonstrate the properties of sunlight, shadow and reflection. The materials used for this lesson are conducive to these properties and will enable the student to convey the imagery and emotion.


  • Students will select an image that has a personal meaning to them.
  • Students will study the scientific principles associated with the reflection of color and light and imagery.
  • Students will select an image that holds the properties of light, shadow and reflection.
  • Students will learn and experience the process of design layering of color and creation of depth.
  • Students will utilize the elements and principles of design in selecting a composition.

Supplies Needed

Supply #1 1370426 Lyra® Water-soluble Graphite Crayons, Assorted Degrees, Set of 24
Supply #2 1401842 Lyra® Aquacolor Water-soluble Crayons, Assorted Colors, Set of 24 (Kit includes 4 sets)
Supply #3 405577 Prang® Metallic Watercolor Paints with Brush, Assorted Colors, Set of 8 (Kit includes 24 sets)
Supply #4 402422 Royal Brush® Soft Grip Classroom Pack, Set of 72
Supply #5 1496113 Crescent® No. 99 Illustration Board, 11" x 14", School Pack of 40
*Here are the supplies needed for this lesson plan for reference. Find a convenient carousel of shoppable products for this lesson below.


CONTENT Standard #1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
CONTENT Standard #2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
CONTENT Standard #3: Define and complete artistic work.
CONTENT Standard #5: Develop and refine artistic work for presentation.
CONTENT Standard #7: Perceive and anlalyze artistic work.
CONTENT Standard #8: Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
CONTENT Standard #10: Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.



If possible, have students go outside (as a home assignment) and take many digital photos of places that have some significance to them. The assignment will require that the images they choose will need to contain the properties of sunlight, shadow and water reflections.


Have the students return with their favorite five or ten photos and help them select which one will work best compositionally.


Ask students to write a paragraph explaining why they chose this one over the others compositionally, in relation to the elements and principles of design.


Once a composition is selected, have students lightly sketch the image to a Crescent Illustration Board using a traditional drawing pencil (do not use the Lyra Graphite to do a sketch layout since it is watersoluble. It may later contaminate an area you do not want it to.)


Using Lyra Graphite and watercolor crayons begin to layer the colors and shadows you find in your image.


Use metallic watercolors to accent sunlight and water reflections.


Have students title their work and write a paragraph on why they choose the location they did and why it is important to them.