ALEX Lesson Plan


Alabama's Pine Barren

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Sara Womack
System: Hoover City
School: Greystone Elementary School
Author:blue horn
System: Hoover City
School: Hoover City Board Of Education
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 35089


Alabama's Pine Barren


Students will read a description of the pine barrens by Basil Hall and analyze the text by using the 3-2-1 strategy. Students will discuss the life and work of Basil Hall, including his travels and journaling in North America. They will observe how a camera lucida functions and debate whether using a camera lucida is "cheating" in art. Next, students will venture outside to create a sketch of their environment while appropriately utilizing materials. They will compare and contrast their products to the sketches of Basil Hall and critique each other's work. 

This lesson was created in partnership with the Alabama Department of Archives and History.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
AED (3) Visual Arts
1. Utilize a variety of processes and media in the production of artwork.
Examples: producing a drawing using markers and crayons, creating a painting using watercolors and pastels on watercolor paper
  • Utilizing digital processes to produce works of art
  • Example: using a paint program to design a digital quilt
    AED (3) Visual Arts
    2. Produce works of art depicting genre subject matter.
    Examples: interiors in the paintings of Benny Andrews and Pieter Brueghel, landscapes of Grandma Moses (Anna Mary Robertson), portraits of daily life by Norman Rockwell
    AED (3) Visual Arts
    3. Apply the elements of art and principles of design, including complementary and monochromatic color schemes, value, contrast, and asymmetrical balance in works of art.
    Examples: using positive and negative space or complementary color schemes to create contrast in designs, using gray scales, mixing white to create tints and black to create shades
    AED (3) Visual Arts
    5. Demonstrate appropriate safety, care, and use of art materials and equipment.
    AED (3) Visual Arts
    9. Contrast artistic styles of various cultures, times, and places.
    cultures--Asian landscapes versus Albert Bierstadt's American landscapes,
    times--art deco interiors versus minimalist interiors,
    places--paintings of covered bridges in rural areas versus suspension bridges in urban areas
  • Using digital media to compare artistic styles of various works of art
  • Identifying symbols from different cultures, times, and places that portray common themes
  • Examples: color purple relating to royalty, arrow or spear symbolizing the hunt
    AED (4) Visual Arts
    1. Produce two- and three-dimensional works of art with a variety of traditional and digital processes, materials, subject matter, and techniques.
    processes--using a digital camera to create images to be digitally altered;
    materials--creating papier-mâché animals;
    subject matter--creating portraits, landscapes, still lifes, interiors, or seascapes;
    techniques--layering materials such as cardboard, rubber, fabric, paper clips, and papers to create a collagraph
    AED (4) Visual Arts
    4. Describe how the elements of art and principles of design, including rhythm, movement, and emphasis, are used in a specific work of art.
    Examples: movement as depicted in the use of line and painting techniques in Wassily Kandinsky's abstract works, emphasis as depicted in Giorgio de Chirico's The Nostalgia of the Infinite, rhythm as depicted in Jackson Pollock's Autumn Rhythm, movement in Glenna Goodacre's sculpture Puddle Jumpers
  • Critiquing works of art orally or in writing, using the elements of art and principles of design
  • Example: reflecting upon the creative process and success of personal works of art in an electronic portfolio
    AED (4) Visual Arts
    6. Compare different interpretations of the same subject or theme in art.
    Example: landscapes by Impressionist and Hudson River School artists
    AED (4) Visual Arts
    7. Utilize community resources to identify works of art from various cultures, times, and places.
    Examples: guest artists, artists-in-residence, museums, libraries, universities
    AED (4) Visual Arts
    8. Identify works of art from various artists that were inspired by the environments in which they were created.
    Example: Alabama artists inspired by their heritage and environment, including Howard Finster's painting Coke Bottle, Jimmy Lee Sudduth's painting Cotton Pickers, and Frank Fleming's sculpture Storyteller
    AED (5) Visual Arts
    1. Utilize the elements of art and principles of design and the structures and functions of art to communicate personal ideas.
    Example: creating a painting, drawing, or sculpture in reaction to world events, drug awareness, or medical issues
  • Creating works of art utilizing a variety of traditional found and recyclable objects
  • Example: using Samuel "Sambo" Mockbee's architectural structures as motivation to produce recycled structures
  • Producing one-point perspective drawings
  • Example: drawing cubes using a vanishing point
    AED (5) Visual Arts
    3. Explain the elements of art and principles of design, including variety and unity in a work of art.
    variety--shapes and lines in Joan Miró's Composition,
    unity--black lines in Henri Matisse's Purple Robe and Anemones
  • Applying appropriate vocabulary in discussing a work of art
  • AED (5) Visual Arts
    4. Critique personal works of art orally or in writing according to specified criteria, including elements of art, principals of design, technical skill, and creativity.
  • Organizing the progression of artwork in a personal portfolio
  • AED (5) Visual Arts
    6. Describe works of art according to the style of various cultures, times, and places.
    cultures--artistic styles of Native American cultures of the Southwestern and Pacific Northwestern United States,
    times--Asher B. Durand's early nineteenth-century painting Kindred Spirits,
    places--gargoyles and sculptures known as grotesques from European countries
  • Describing ways in which the subject matter of other disciplines is interrelated with the visual arts
  • Examples:
    mathematics--Mavrits Cornelis (M. C.) Esher and tesselations;
    language arts--Patricia Pollaco and book illustrations;
    social studies--Matthew Brady and Civil War photography;
    science--transformation of shapes to forms, circles to spheres, squares to cubes, and triangles to pyramids
    SS2010 (3) Geographic and Historical Studies: People, Places, and Regions
    3. Describe ways the environment is affected by humans in Alabama and the world. (Alabama)
    Examples: crop rotation, oil spills, landfills, clearing of forests, replacement of cleared lands, restocking of fish in waterways
  • Using vocabulary associated with human influence on the environment, including irrigation, aeration, urbanization, reforestation, erosion, and migration
  • SS2010 (3) Geographic and Historical Studies: People, Places, and Regions
    11. Interpret various primary sources for reconstructing the past, including documents, letters, diaries, maps, and photographs.
  • Comparing maps of the past to maps of the present
  • SS2010 (4) Alabama Studies
    2. Relate reasons for European exploration and settlement in Alabama to the impact of European explorers on trade, health, and land expansion in Alabama.
  • Locating on maps European settlements in early Alabama, including Fort Condé, Fort Toulouse, and Fort Mims
  • Tracing on maps and globes, the routes of early explorers of the New World, including Juan Ponce de León, Hernando de Soto, and Vasco Núñez de Balboa
  • Explaining reasons for conflicts between Europeans and American Indians in Alabama from 1519 to 1840, including differing beliefs regarding land ownership, religion, and culture
  • SS2010 (5) United States Studies: Beginnings to the Industrial Revolution
    1. Locate on a map physical features that impacted the exploration and settlement of the Americas, including ocean currents, prevailing winds, large forests, major rivers, and significant mountain ranges.
  • Locating on a map states and capitals east of the Mississippi River
  • Identifying natural harbors in North America
  • Examples: Mobile, Boston, New York, New Orleans, Savannah (Alabama)
    SS2010 (5) United States Studies: Beginnings to the Industrial Revolution
    2. Identify causes and effects of early migration and settlement of North America.

    Local/National Standards:


    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    1. Students will locate the path of a European explorer in America using a map and explain the importance of waterways in migration and settlements.
    2. Students will analyze the technical aspects in the primary sources of Basil Hall, including texture, details, balance, and unity and variety.
    3. Students will sketch the environment outside the school using pencil and paper.
    4. Students will properly utilize supplies for the environment and purpose.
    5. Students will compare and contrast personal environmental sketches to those of Basil Hall.
    6. Students will describe human impact on the environment.
    7. Students will critique the products of their classmates in small groups.

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    31 to 60 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    Technology Resources Needed:

    • Computer
    • Projector
    • Internet Access
    • Audio Playback Capabilities


    Teachers should have technology prepared before the lesson begins and be familiar with the content of the lesson. The Encyclopedia of Alabama contains more useful information on the Forest Products Industry in Alabama and Longleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem.  Basil Hall's Forty Etchings can be found as a PDF at the Library of Congress and a biography of Basil Hall can be found in the Encyclopedia Britannica. Students should have knowledge of reading maps and be familiar with art principles and basic drawing techniques.



    1. Display the attached description of pine barrens as written by Basil Hall in Forty Etchings and ask students to read it silently or have students take turns reading the text aloud. 
    2. Complete a 3-2-1 strategy chart with 3 discoveries, 2 interesting points, and 1 remaining question. One is linked in the materials section. The chart can be completed individually, in small groups, or as a class depending on time and needs.


    1. "The description that we just read was written by Basil Hall in 1829." Show the attached engraving of Basil Hall.
    2. "He was a European explorer that traveled through North America in 1827 and 1828. He wanted to report on the new United States." Show the attached map of his travels and ask the students to detail his route by sharing his starting location. Hall traveled down the St. Lawrence and in New England, then down the Ohio and Mississippi to New Orleans, across to Savannah, and north along the Atlantic coast to Canada. "Why do Basil Hall's travels follow many rivers?" (ease of transportation and location of resources) "Why are so many cities located on waterways?" (transportation, food, trading, rich soil)
    3. "Why do you think he was exploring North America?" (identifying possible trade opportunities, opportunities for land acquisition) 
    4. "He not only wanted to tell about the new country but to show Europeans what it looked like. So, he used a tool called the camera lucida to sketch accurate representations of his travels. Why wouldn't he used a camera to make photographs of what he saw?" (Cameras were not commonly used until about 10 years later.) Show a YouTube video about the camera lucida and how it works.
    5. Show the attached picture of the pine barren sketch by Basil Hall. "This is the sketch made by Basil Hall that he described in the writing at the beginning of class. He used the camera lucida in this drawing."
    6. "Some people think artists that use a camera lucida are cheating. Others think that they using it as another tool, like pencils and erasers. Do you think Basil Hall was cheating or using the camera lucida as a tool?" Encourage discussion and debate between the two points of view. 
    7. "After he returned to Europe, he put together his journal about his travels and his sketches made from the camera lucida into a book called Forty Etchings: From Sketches Made with the Camera Lucida in North America in 1827 and 1828. He included sketches of cities, people, and landscapes." Show the attached pictures of Hall's sketches of Rochester, Creek Indian chiefs, and the pine barrens. While viewing these sketches, remind students that they were made with the camera lucida. 
    8. Show the sketch of Rochester. "Hall described the village of Rochester as a fast growing city that grew from a forest of trees in 1812 to nearly 8,000 residents in 1826. The Erie Canal went through the middle of the city. It connected the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes in the middle of the country." Show map of the Erie Canal linked in the resources section. "Why do you think the city grew so fast?" (access to trade and travel, food and water)
    9. Show the sketch of the Creek Indian chiefs. "During the time Hall was exploring North America, Native Americans were removed from their homes by American troops and forced to march to Indian territory in Oklahoma. This is known as the Trail of Tears. Why were the Native Americans removed from their land?" (to take their fertile land for farming) 
    10. "Some Native Americans tried to remain on their land in the southern states. These are two chiefs from the Creek tribe in Georgia that were sketched by Hall. The chief on the left was known as Little Prince and was very well respected in the area. He was about 80 years old when Hall met him and died just a few weeks later. The chief on the right was sketched a few days after the first. The American in the center is a squatter, someone that lives on land owned by someone else until he is asked to leave. He lived by hunting."
    11. Show the sketch of pine barrens. "This is the sketch that we looked at earlier with Hall's description of Alabama forests that he called pine barrens. Why is this picture important to the growth of Alabama?" (People became familiar with the resources of Alabama.) "Now, Alabama is one of the most heavily forested states in the country. And the southern long-leaf pine has even been named as our state tree. What products are made from Alabama trees?" (paper, lumber to build houses and furniture, tar, resin) "What is a negative consequence of heavy foresting?" (environment, animal habitats) "What is a way to help our forests?" (plant more trees)
    12. Analyze the sketches through discussion. Texture, details, balance, unity, and variety should be examined. Some questions could include the following: "Can you see the texture of the tree bark?" (no) "Is Hall concerned with texture?" (no) "Does he sketch each leaf of the tree?" (no) "Is detail important to this artist in the sketches?" (no) "How does Hall utilize balance? Are the sketches symmetrical or asymmetrical?" (symmetrical) "Does he focus on unity or variety?" (unity)
    13. "We are going to share the surroundings of our school like Hall shared his view of America. When we go outside, what materials will we need?" (paper, pencil, eraser, clipboard) "How should we properly use these materials?"
    14. "Let's sketch our surroundings in the style of Basil Hall. Don't focus on the details or texture. You don't need to sketch every brick or every pine cone, but do balance your work with symmetry and unity." 
    15. Allow sufficient time for students to sketch an outdoor scene around the school. It can be a landscape, another building or city scene, or a residential area. 


    1. Display the map of Basil Hall's exploration route. Ask students to identify Alabama and show the path of his travels. Students should detail his route along waterways, including the Alabama River. Students may need to reference a current Alabama map that identifies the names of the rivers.
    2. Compare and contrast student sketches with the pine barren sketch of Basil Hall. "How did Hall describe the forests of Alabama?" ("vast ocean of trees," "as far as the eye could reach") "Look at your sketch. How is it different from Hall's sketch? How is it the same? How has the environment changed? Why has it changed? Do we still live in areas where resources are readily available?" Encourage students to use art vocabulary like texture, details, balance, variety, and unity. 
    3. "Think about the environment when Native Americans lived across Alabama. How is your sketch different from the landscape at that time? Why are Native Americans no longer living in all areas of the state?" (Native Americans were forcibly removed from their lands, so that settlers could take the land for farming.) "Why are waterways so important during this time?" (travel, farming, food, water)
    4. In groups of 3-5 students, students will look at one sketch at a time from the group. Ask the following questions and remind students that negative comments are not allowed: "What did you notice first about the sketch? Why do you notice that? What feeling do you get by looking at the sketch? How did the artist use details, texture, balance, and unity and variety? How is the sketch the same or different from Basil Hall's sketch?" 

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    Assessment Strategies

    Before the lesson, the 3-2-1 strategy assesses student comprehension. During the lesson, the teacher will assess student learning through questioning, discussion, and observation. The teacher will review and reassess as needed. Summative assessment consists of the collaborative critique. A written self-critique can also be used for summative assessment. One example can be found at Teachers Pay Teachers.



    • Provide additional time to complete the environmental sketch.
    • Seat struggling students with stronger artists.
    • Encourage struggling students to focus on one aspect of the environment. For example, sketching a tree instead of an entire landscape.

    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.