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Activities by Grade Level

The Wonder of Puppetry
James Aponovich – Still Life with Chocolates
    Interdisciplinary Extensions

The Wonder of Puppetry
Language Arts: Standards 6 & 7, Using the English language to communicate in multiple ways & for multiple purposes.

Potters Mary and Edwin Scheier began their artistic careers as traveling puppeteers, designing and building their own puppets. Their experience with puppeteering and their creation of ‘Pop Up Puppets’ engaged many children in the years following the Depression. Their puppet stage was filled with playfully inventive puppets – Mrs. Dripping Gold, Mae West, The Farmer’s Wife, the Rooster, KooKoo, and Chief Worry Wort were among the dozens of puppets they created. They created skits for the puppets, and through this mechanism, began to explore their own creativity.²

For the Scheiers, puppetry was just one form of art that they would explore. Their work in puppetry exemplifies how artists explore the creative process, using a variety of different art forms to express themselves, and perhaps to earn a living. The artistic progression which later led them to their work as potters was strengthened by their early experimentation in art forms such as puppetry.

Puppetry allows students to act out, release thoughts, entertain, and wonder out loud. Have your students create some simple puppets based on a theme and create a skit for them to act out.

Themes might include: the farm, a construction site, or outer space. Using Popsicle sticks, paper, glue and markers, work with your students to create simple stick puppets related to your theme. Then, work with them to develop a story related to the theme and have them act this out with their stick puppets.

James Aponovich – Still Life with Chocolates
Grade –
Grade 4/Upper Elementary

Aim/Instructional Objectives

  1. Students will learn about New Hampshire artists.
  2. Students will learn how to draw realistic flowers.
  3. Students will learn how to create a realistic still life.

See student examples >

Materials/Supplies Needed

  • 3 x  9" black construction paper
  • 9 x 12" white construction paper
  • 3 shades of orange markers
    Light value:  sandy tan
    Medium value:  coral reef
    Dark value: orange
  • Several shades of green markers
  • Extra fine sharpie, and fine sharpie
  • Glue, scissors, rulers, tacky glue
  • 18 x 24" white construction paper
  • Cloth (approx. 9 x 12”)
  • 5 x 5" orange construction paper
  • 6 x 6" yellow construction paper
  • Colored pencils
  • Brown chocolate wrappers from boxed chocolates
  • Visuals
  • 4 x 18" dark green construction paper
  • 1 x 6" brown construction paper
  • 1½" circle lid for tracer
  • Yogurt lid (3½”) and cottage cheese lid (4½”) – for tracing

Length(2) 50-minute periods


 WEEK # 1:

  1. Take the 3 x 9" black construction paper and make a happy face at the top. Repeat at the bottom. Glue vase to middle bottom of the vertical 9 x 12" white construction paper by putting a line of glue on the top of the black cylinder and attaching.  
  2. Take several shades of green markers and draw stems and leaves from top of vase to ½ way up white paper.
  3. Show where to start. Use extra fine tipped sharpie for stamens and place dot in that spot. Draw stamens coming out of the central dot, then form kidney shaped dots on the ends of them. Make 3 large flowers.
  4. Look at the visual. You will see light gray, medium gray, and dark gray areas. These shadings give the flower volume or bulk or mass.  In other words this is the space occupied. I will demonstrate on the white/black board making a large lily and then demonstrate on the 9 x 12" white construction paper. Then you will draw. The lily has 5 petals and is in a rough star design. Look at your visual and look at mine.  You will not draw in pencil first but will go directly to the light value of the orange marker and draw the petals. Look at mine to see how big the lily should be. Block in your entire shape .
  5. Next we will do the dark value. This is the darkest shade of gray in the photograph. Duplicate those dark areas on your petals. Notice how the dark areas fall on the underside of the petals or the surfaces that are away from the rays of your sun source (top left.)
  6. Use the medium shade of your petal color to block in the shapes of the shading between the dark and light sides.
  7. Take the extra fine tipped sharpie to draw in the detail of the central lines of the petals and the dots. It is not necessary to duplicate the same pattern and numbers of dots. Remember every flower is not exactly alike.
  8. Make a couple of buds – long thin ovals. Look at visual to duplicate shading.
  9. Add any extra stems and leaves to fill in bouquet.
  10. Trim around bouquet with scissors. Put name and class code on back in pencil.

WEEK # 2:

  1. Glue 4 x 18" dark green construction paper on bottom of vertical 18 x 24" white construction paper. Using ruler and fine sharpie draw bureau lines. Trace 1½" circle tracer cap for knobs.
  2. Glue vase and flowers to table.
  3. Trace yogurt lid on orange construction paper, and cut out orange.
  4. Using white colored pencil, color in white membranes and sections of top half of " peeled " orange.
  5. Trace cottage cheese lid on yellow paper. Cut out. Fold yellow construction paper in half and cut, creating two " bowls." Glue the "stacked bowls " to the left, but overlapping, the vase. Glue orange to left of bowls and overlap.
  6. Use tacky glue-to-glue cloth to front of vase. Demonstrate how to fold over the top and fold in the 2 sides at an angle to make it interesting.
  7. Glue 1 x 6" brown construction paper for box on far left. Cut your brown chocolate wrapper into quarters. Trim bottom for straight edge.  Glue, being careful not to smooth out creases.
  8. Using colored pencil draw chocolates.
  9. Option: other objects could be added to still life such as a folded bag, shells, plant etc.

Corresponding Standards
National Standards

  • Content Standard 1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes.
  • Content Standard 2: Using knowledge of structures and functions.
  • Content Standard 3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas.
  • Content Standard 4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures.
  • Content Standard 5: Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others.

New Hampshire Standards

  • Standard 1: Apply appropriate media, techniques, and processes.
  • Standard 2:  Identify and apply the elements of visual art and principles of design.
  • Standard 3: Select and apply a range of subject matter, symbols and ideas.
  • Standard 4: Analyze the visual arts in relation to history and culture.
  • Standard 5: Analyze, interpret and evaluate their own and others’ work.
  • Standard 7: Understand the range of careers in the field of visual arts and identify careers associated with this field.


  1. Did the student create an Aponovich inspired still life?
  2. Did the student use media correctly?
  3. Did the student demonstrate an understanding of Aponovich’s photo-realism style?
  4. Did the student create a realistic flower?

New Vocabulary Words
the part of a picture or photograph depicting darkness or shadow.
Volume bulk or mass.
Value – the relative darkness or lightness of a color.

Interdisciplinary Extensions

  1. Social Studies: study of New Hampshire and New Hampshire artists.
  2. Math: geometric shapes, grouping diverse objects along strong vertical and horizontal lines.

2 Michael Komanecky, American Potters, Mary and Edwin Scheier, Currier Gallery of Art.

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James Aponovich, Still Life with Chocolates, 1984
James Aponovich, Still Life with Chocolates, 1984
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