Lesson Plan: Virtual Field Trips: "Touring the World in Your Classroom!"

Written By: Mary Dalzell
Grade Level: 3-5 (All virtual field trips may be adapted to any level.)

Time Allotment

This Unit Plan is designed to cover approximately 8 weeks of lessons. As an art teacher, I see students once a week. Therefore, the timeline has to be adjusted for how many time individual teachers will see their students per week. As an art teacher, I see students only once per week for 50 minutes.


In order to learn about French artists, I would like students to become excited about learning the many different aspects which influenced artists and also about the importance of art in the French culture. Therefore, the beginning of this unit will include a look at France and its location to the United States, a virtual tour of the muse d’Orsay Museum. As we progress into the lesson, we will learn more about individual French artists, their lives and their works.

Download the Lesson Plan

Download Supplemental Powerpoint

Subject Matter

Art History is the subject matter of this field trip; however, virtual field trip can be used for any subject matter.

Learning Objectives

Students will learn how to effectively use the Internet in order to learn about artists as well as using higher order thinking skills in order to compare and contrast various different French artists and their artworks. Students will use this knowledge in order to think critically about the creation of their own artworks.

Media Components - Video/Web

PBS Videos; Discovery Education Videos; Smart Board; Internet Virtual Tours


Computer and Internet access
Various prints of different artworks
Books on the lives of artists
Music from the country of France
Materials for creating various artworks.

Teacher Preparation

Students who come into the art room should feel like they are on a journey to France:
  • French Artwork Prints
  • French Music Pictures of French Artists: Monet, Van Gogh, Degas, Renior and Cezanne
  • Permission slips for parents to fill out for the Journey to France
  • Virtual tour ready for the field trip to the and Muse’e d’ Orsay
  • Virtual Field trips ready for artists:
  • Invitation forms for parents for the Gallery Show for the Journey to France Artworks

Introductory Activities

French Music: Yves Montand (A Paris) accompanied by Degas & Monet

Weeks 1 & 2:
Introduction to Journey to France: Where is France Located? Ariel view of a map of Paris:
Launch Museum d’Orsay trip:
Students will view the virtual tour as presented on the projector at the front of the class. This field trip will be teacher guided because there are some images which would not be appropriate for students to see. Students will have out their sketchbooks/journals to keep a field trip log.

Our 1st Virtual tour: the Musee d’Orsay. The largest gallery show of Impressionist Artwork.
Our 1st tour of the Impressionist Gallery
Our 2nd tour through the Musee d’ Orsay and introduction to our 1st Artist Mr. Claude Monet

Introduction to Mr. Claude Monet
Students will work then work in groups of 2 on computers to look at:
Monet's Sketchbooks

While students browse online, this will help them discover how many of Monet’s beautiful paintings began with sketches; during this time they will be taking notes in their sketchbooks to generate ideas. After students have looked at Monet’s black and white sketches, they will now have the excitement of browsing online to see Monet’s beautiful paintings. Welcome to Monet's

Learning Activities

Students will choose one of their drawings in their sketchbooks to use as an inspiration for an impressionistic picture. Students will now begin to work on their pictures using 11” by 17” watercolor paper. They will sketch lightly with pencil. When complete, they will begin to paint. Students will keep in mind how the impressionists painted with dabs of color in order to capture the light reflected off of objects. While student are working, the teacher will observe and assist when needed. Students will be reminded that at the end of our Virtual tour we will be having a gallery show in which their parents have received invitations to attend.

Weeks 3 & 4:
Our 3rd Journey through the Musee d’Orsay and Introduction to our Artist Vincent Van Gogh

Introduction to My. Vincent Van Gogh
We will look at the second stop of our tour which is the Vincent Van Gogh gallery. We will talk about his different artworks, his use of line and color. Students will take notes in their sketchbooks, as we look at Van Gogh’s various works. I will also have various vocabulary words posted throughout the room which are connected to our Visual Art Standards and Benchmarks.

We will then go to the Metropolitan Museum site How Van Gogh Made His Mark
This interactive exploration of four landscape drawings introduces young visitors to the creative genius of Van Gogh the draftsman

Explore Van Gogh This is a wonderful interactive site which gives information on Vincent’s biography, his drawings and his unique line quality. Finally students can test their own drawing skills by using an online tool to draw their own picture by using hatching, cross hatching lines, stippling and other techniques. They can then print their completed picture.

Working in small groups, students can create sketches, small paintings, or a 3D representation of Van Gogh’s room. They can also sculpt a model-magic figure of the artist Vincent Van Gogh. They will be reminded that there will be group discussions about their artwork at the end of our Journey

Weeks 5 & 6:
Our 4th Journey through the Musee ’Orsay and Introduction to Edgar Degas

Introduction to Mr. Edward Degas

We will return to our tour of the Musee d’Orsay to view Degas’s artwork. We will see his beautiful paintings as well as his lovely ballerina sculptures. While we look at Degas’s artworks, students will also take notes in their sketch book journals, do thumbnail sketches as well as write down vocabulary words.

Next we will return the Metropolitan Museum, to see the following online interactive site: The Dancers and Degas Join special guests on a visit to the galleries and find out what dancers can tell us about Edgar Degas. Listen, look, and create your own sketch in this fun activity for all ages.

Activity: After viewing this site in groups of 2, the students will be encouraged to participate in the different activities suggested in this site: such as doing gesture drawings in their sketchbook or writing an original story in their sketchbooks about one of the paintings or sculptures. They can also create a computer drawing with the program, which then can be printed and colored. Finally, they can send an E-card with one Degas’s pictures. Older students will be encouraged to try to create their own virtual field trip with Tour-Maker. They will be encouraged to choose one of the artists in which they could study the artist in a more thorough manner.

Weeks 7 & 8:
Our 5th and last Journey through the Musee d’Orsay and Introduction to Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Introduction to Mr .Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Cezanne

The Following are links which students can browse works of art by the artist Renoir:
Still Life

And then we will move on to Cez’anne at the Metropolitan Museum link:
Cézanne's Astonishing Apples
Paul Cézanne said, "I will astonish Paris with an apple!" Have some fun while you play with shapes, listen to a story, and learn all about Cézanne's "Still Life with Apples and a Pot of Primroses"
This is a very informative site for students. Here the students can learn about Cézanne’s life and works. They can also take a quiz about his life. They can also send a E-card with a picture of his work. Activity: A still-life with fruit will be set up. Students will first do thumb nail sketches of the still-life in their journals, as well as writing down the vocabulary for the lesson. The students then will be given paper, pencils and oil pastels in order to create a still-life. A floral still-life will also be set up and students will also be able to choose this type of drawing as well. Students can also write a poem which will describe their still-life using descriptive colors in their journal.

Culminating Activity

Students will create a Smart Board portrait, still-life or landscape which was inspired by an artist as a presentation for their peers. Students will be reminded that there will be the upcoming gallery show with their parents which will be a celebration of their artwork and their learning.