Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

*Click to open and customize your own copy of the Portraits Lesson Plan

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Portraits, and supports the standard of relating artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.


Display this image this portrait by Édouard Manet shown in the movie (timestamp: 0:48):

Prompt students to share observations of the painting, including what they notice about the person, the background, and the objects it portrays. Ask: 

  • What can you infer about the person in the portrait from details in the painting? 


  • Read the description on the Portraits topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Assign Related Reading. Have students read one of the following articles: “Way Back When” or “Unsolved Mysteries.” Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY and ASSESS 

Assign Portraits Quiz, prompting students to apply essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.


Students express what they learned about portraits while practicing essential literacy skills with one or more of the following activities. Differentiate by assigning ones that meet individual student needs.

  • Make-a-Movie: Produce a video guide to a portrait of your choice. Describe how details, such as the background, the subject’s stance and clothing, etc. help you to understand their place in history. 
  • Make-a-Map: Create a concept map identifying how key details in a portrait contribute to the viewer’s understanding of the subject. 
  • Creative Coding: Code a museum exhibit about a portrait of your choice where artifacts explain how key details of the painting contribute to its overall themes. 

More to Explore 

Time Zone X: Portraits: Place historical events in chronological order in this interactive timeline game.

Related BrainPOP Topics: Deepen understanding of artistic expression with these topics: Painting and Photography.

Teacher Support Resources:

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments