• The Next Step

    Joseph Raffael, The Next Step. Oil on canvas, 50 x 32 inches. Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

Colorful Frog

Visual Arts


6: Wonders of Nature: Plants, Bugs, and Frogs

2-3 45-minute lessons


What kind of bugs do you see in your environment?
What kind of environment do frogs live in?

I can understand characteristics of the Elements of Art, including colors and texture.
I can recognize that artists may view or interpret art differently.
I can use the processes of drawing, painting and collage making.
I can identify relationships between art and concepts from other disciplines, such as language arts and science.
I can identify the lines and colors in works of art.

Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

Day 1

Show students the painting The Next Step, by Joseph Raffael. Ask questions to check comprehension, such as:

  • What colors do you see in this painting?
  • Describe patterns and textures in the artwork.

Share the story The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Discuss the artist’s techniques:

  • Eric Carle paints tissue paper with water color paint, and once the paper is dry, he uses it to create collages
  • Discuss the variety of colors in the images in the book

Compare and contrast the pictures in The Very Hungry Caterpillar with The Next Step:

  • Ask students: What is the same about these two pictures? What is different?
  • Do you think that a caterpillar or butterfly would like to live in this painting? Why or why not?

Demonstrate how they can create colorful patterned paper with paints like the artist Eric Carle. Show students how to water down their paint and let colors overlap on their paper (instead of mixing in the paint dish). Have students create 3-4 pieces of color wash paper each. You could have each student use one or two colors only and see how many different shades and hues they can produce.

Days 2-3

Show images of frogs. Using pencil, have students draw an outline of a big frog on one of their sheets of patterned colorful paper; make sure the frog fills up the page. Students can trade paper and use other colors to fill in their frog using collage.

Encourage students to add details to the composition, like food for the frog, or a safe place for it to hide.

Ask them to say 2-3 sentences about their finished artwork.

Classroom Extension Ideas

Read another story or informative book about frogs or insects. Compare and contrast together:

  • What is similar about the life cycle of a butterfly and a frog?
  • What is different?

Brainstorm other animals we know that start with different letters of the alphabet.


Did they prepare colorful patterned paper with a range of shades and hues?

How well did they cut and glue?

Art Rubric

Materials Needed

white sheet 9”x 12” and 12”x18”, tempera paints, scissors and glue


primary and secondary colors, pattern, collage, form, shape

Artwork in this Lesson

  • Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
    • Joseph Raffael | The Next Step

Texts in this Lesson

  • Carle: The Very Hungry Caterpillar