By Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, August 23, 2006
- Middle School
- Product Design
- Language Arts
One fifty-minute class period, one homework assignment
In this activity students will learn the differences and similarities between "masterpieces" and mass-produced objects. Students will analyze the value of masterpieces and mass-produced items. They will also persuade panel members to accept items that they recommend into their museum collection.
5. Uses content, style, and structure (e.g., formal or informal language, genre, organization) appropriate for specific audiences (e.g., public, private) and purposes (e.g., to entertain, to influence, to inform)
10. Writes persuasive compositions (e.g., engages the reader by establishing a context, creating a persona, and otherwise developing reader interest; develops a controlling idea that conveys a judgment; creates and organizes a structure appropriate to the needs and interests of a specific audience; arranges details, reasons, examples, and/or anecdotes persuasively; excludes information and arguments that are irrelevant; anticipates and addresses reader concerns and counter arguments; supports arguments with detailed evidence, citing sources of information as appropriate)
Standard 8. Level III. Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes 4. Listens in order to understand topic, purpose, and perspective in spoken texts (e.g., of a guest speaker, of an informational video, of a televised interview, of radio news programs) 6. Makes oral presentations to the class (e.g., uses notes and outlines; uses organizational pattern that includes preview, introduction, body, transitions, conclusion; uses a clear point of view; uses evidence and arguments to support opinions; uses visual media) 8. Evaluates strategies used by speakers in oral presentations (e.g., persuasive techniques, verbal messages supported by nonverbal techniques, effect of word choice, use of slanted or biased material)
Students will do the following:
- explain the differences and commonalities between masterpieces and mass-produced items
- analyze the value in both masterpieces and mass-produced items
- analyze how the inventive and creative nature of humans is expressed in objects they produce
- photographs of a variety of masterpieces, such as buildings, paintings, jewelry, etc.
- photographs of a variety of interesting mass-produced objects, such as glasses, airplanes, clothing, etc.
Masterpiece 1. An outstanding work of art or craft. 2. Something superlative of its kind. Mass-produced To manufacture in large quantities, often by or as if by assembly-line techniques. (Citation: The American Heritage Dictionary)
Building Background What do we Value?The purpose of this activity is to examine the value of both masterpieces and mass-produced items. 1. Explain the definitions of both a masterpiece a mass-produced object, as you show an example of each. Masterpiece 1. An outstanding work of art or craft. 2. Something superlative of its kind. Mass-produced To manufacture in large quantities, often by or as if by assembly-line techniques. (The American Heritage Dictionary) 2. Show the class photographs and/or actual masterpiece and mass-produced items. Ask the class to determine if each item is a masterpiece or a mass-produced item. 3. Involve the class in a discussion regarding the value of each item, and how the inventive and creative nature of humans is reflected in the objects.
Steps for Learning Masterpiece and Mass-produced ItemsThe purpose of this activity is to provide students with an opportunity to analyze masterpieces and mass-produced items. 1. Homework Assignment Ask students to imagine that a new M&M (Masterpiece and Mass-Produced) Museum is opening its doors. They are looking for one more example of both a masterpiece and a mass-produced object to add to their collection. Tell students that it is their job to find an example of both a masterpiece and a mass-produced item that deserves to be added to the museum's collection. 2. Ask students to find one object to submit for each category. Students may find photographs of the objects online or in magazines, or they may draw a picture of the object. They may also bring in actual objects. 3. Tell students to write a paragraph for each item that explains why the item should be included in the museum's permanent collection. 4. After students have completed the homework assignment, select three students to serve as the panel from the museum. Have each student show the panel his or her items and state their case for including the item in the collection. Students may reference their written paragraph while making their plea to the panel. Alternate panel members so that each class member has a chance to be on the panel and present his or her items to the panel. 5. Have the class vote by ballot to select which two items will be included in the exhibit.
Ask students to answer the following question: What three things have you learned during this assignment?
Enrichment Extension Activities
Create a Brochure
Have students create a brochure for the "M&M" (Masterpiece and Mass-Produced) Museum that features the items that the students collected.