SPARKLING SUNFLOWERS – Shape, Colour, Collage

Students examine sunflowers and use paint and construction paper to create a collage inspired by their observations.

Required Time

40 Minutes

Grade Level

Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 1


Language Arts
Visual Arts



Crayola Washable Project Paint, 10 Count Crayola Construction Paper, 120 Count Crayola Washable No-Run School Glue Crayola Blunt Tip Scissors - 1 per student Crayola Paint Brushes Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper, 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Water Containers Paper Towels

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SPARKLING SUNFLOWERS – Shape, Colour, Collage - Step One

Step One

  1. Look closely at the sunflowers.
  2. What brush will you use?
  3. What colours will you use?
SPARKLING SUNFLOWERS – Shape, Colour, Collage - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Look closely at the centres of the sunflowers.
  2. Be a sunflower detective!
    - What do you notice about the colours?
    - What shape are the centres of the sunflowers?
    - What colours will you use to paint the centres of the flowers?
  3. Paint shapes for the centres of the sunflowers.
  4. Remember to keep looking at the flowers as you paint.
  5. Set the painting aside to dry.
SPARKLING SUNFLOWERS – Shape, Colour, Collage - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Look closely at the sunflowers.
    - What shapes do you see?  
    - What shape are the leaves?
    - What shape is the stalk?
    - How is the stalk different than the leaves?
  2. Make one flower on your painting stand out.
  3. Cut shapes out of construction paper for the flower head, leaves and a stalk.
SPARKLING SUNFLOWERS – Shape, Colour, Collage - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Use a small amount of glue on the shape.
  2. Glue the shape to the painting.
  3. Glue lots of details to your sunflower.
SPARKLING SUNFLOWERS – Shape, Colour, Collage - Step Five

Step Five

  1. View your picture with fresh eyes.
    - What happened when paint colours got mixed together? Why?
    - How do the paper shapes change the picture?
    - What do you like the best about this picture? Why?
    - Who would love this picture? Why?
  2. Can you see 3 different parts of a sunflower on your picture?
  3. What are they?
  4. Find sunflower words in the classroom.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a mixed media collage;
  • create personal responses to the centre materials;
  • work independently and self-regulate;
  • share their ideas with peers; 
  • demonstrate a sense of accomplishment.


Science Exploration Centre

  1. Set up a centre in your room where students can examine live and dried sunflowers.
  2. Have students:
    - use magnifying glasses and children’s science books to explore ideas about sunflowers;
    - make a dried sunflower bird feeder and hang it near the class window or at home;
    - observe and record what birds come to the feeder;
    - gather fun facts about sunflowers;
    - use Model Magic and/or Modeling Clay to make flowers;
    ​- share their learnings with peers.


  1. Create a paint centre in your classroom with the following things:
    - sunflowers
    - washable paints
    - a variety of paint brushes
    - marker and watercolour paper
  2. Gather, and make available, books about sunflowers, for example, Van Gogh and the Sunflowers, by Laurence Anholt; My Sunflower: Watch me bloom, from seed to sunflower, by Martin Taylor, and Mar Ferrero; Plants for Kids: Sunflowers, by Nicole Damon; Katie and the Sunflowers, by James Mayhew; National Geographic Readers: Seed to Plant, by Kristin Baird Rattini; and Sunflower House, by Eve Bunting (Author), Kathryn Hewitt.
  3. Download images of sunflowers from the Internet, for example,
    Van Gogh 1
    Van Gogh 2
    One Sunflower
    Field of Sunflowers
  4. If possible take your class on a trip to a farm that grows sunflowers. Ask students:
    - How tall are the sunflowers compared to you? 
    - What colours do you see?
    - How many different colours of sunflower can you find?
  5. Bring fresh sunflowers into the classroom. 
  6. Share some size facts about sunflowers, for example, the stalk of a sunflower can grow up to 3 m (10 ft) tall and the flower head can be 30 cm (11.8 in) wide.
  7. Use simple geometric shapes to make a paper sunflower that has a 3 m tall stalk and a 30 cm wide flower head so students can visualize the measurements.
  8. Have students measure themselves against the paper sunflower.
  9. Display a picture of a sunflower and label it with 'sunflower words' – sunflower, flower head, stalk, leaf.


  1. ​Conduct a read-aloud with a book such as Katie and the Sunflowers, by James Mayhew.
  2. Discuss and review geometric shapes and the parts of the sunflower.
  3. Introduce the paint centre.
  4. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Make a collage picture of sunflowers.
  2. Use your own ideas to make your sunflowers.
  3. Look closely at real sunflowers and tell what you see.
  4. Explain how you made your picture.

The Process

  1. Ensure that students understand the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I:
    - use my own ideas to make my sunflowers
    - mix different colours of paint to make my sunflower centres
    - cut out paper shapes for my sunflowers
    - glue paper shapes on my sunflowers
    - look closely at real flowers
    - explain how I made my picture
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in the lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work.
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Gather students to share and discuss their art. Ask students to share:
    What they learned about looking closely at flowers.
    How they used the different materials to make their pictures.
    - What they learned about sunflowers.
    - What they learned about mixing colours of paint.
    - What they like best about their pictures.
  2. Display all the paintings in the classroom.
  3. Encourage students to view the paintings and notice how they are the same, and how they are different.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their pictures – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the picture, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Download - Sunflowers_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have grade 1 students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Download - Sunflowers_self-assessment.pdf)