This is a great lesson for teaching observational drawing, color contrast, watercolor techniques and art history. And the best part: almost all students succeeded in creating a beautiful painting!
I taught this lesson to first through third grades. We began by completing observational drawings of leaves. These were then outlined with a black glue(Elmer's glue mixed with black tempera paint). During the next class, we painted in the leaves with warm colors. I showed students how to blend the watercolor paints to create intermediate colors. For the final class, students learned about Starry Night and created lines in the background that demonstrated movement. We also discussed how cool colors are opposite warm colors on the color wheel and how placing them next to each other creates contrast.
This is a great seasonal project that introduces so many important design principles in an easy and fun way!