Download a PDF of the Peruvian Gourd Animals Lesson

Grade: 5th

New York State Visual Art Standards:

  • Standard 1: Creating, Performing and Participating in the Arts:
    Students will actively engage in the process that constitute creation and performance in the arts and participate in various roles in the arts.
  • Standard 2: Knowing and Using Arts Materials and Resources:
    Students will be knowledgeable about and make use of the materials and resources available for participation in the arts in various roles.
  • Standard 4: Understanding the Cultural Dimensions and Contributions of the Arts:
    Students will develop an understanding of the personal and cultural forcesthat shape artistic communication and how the arts in turn shape the diverse cultures of past and present societies.


  • Art Production:
    Students will create a painting of an animal on a Gourd to represent a Peruvian Gourd painting.
  • Art History:
    Students will discuss the history behind the Peruvian gourd paintings, understanding the cultural importance.

Visual References:

  • Pictures of Peruvian gourd paintings
  • Zoobooks

Other Motivational Strategies, References and Materials:

Materials and Supplies:

  • Dried gourds
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint cups
  • Water cups
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Manila sketching paper
  • Zoo books

Ideas to Emphasize:

  • Gourd art is the oldest and most traditional example of Peruvian handicraft.
  • The gourd is called a mate. It grows on a climbing plant that thrives in the dry warm regions of the Andes.
  • The weather conditions of the Andes contribute to its hard shell that is similar to wood.
  • The handcrafted nature of these gourds from Peru will produce minor imperfections.
  • Subtle shade variations will occur from piece to piece, adding to its unique qualities.

Techniques to Demonstrate:

  • Explain to the students that usually gourd art is done by engraving and burning, but we will be working with paint to give the effects.
  • Explain to the students how to use the acrylic paint.
  • Help the students find an animal that resemble the shape of the gourd.

Topics to Discuss while Working:

  • Since gourds are a product of nature, all sizes given are approximations and therefore the size & shape of the individual fruit may vary. The ones in tan tones can be washed with soap and water.
  • “Process of our hand carved Gourds: After the gourds are harvested, the artisan removes the outer green skin exposing the light tan color underneath. The gourds are then cleaned and dried in the sun. The artist hand sketches a design onto the gourd with a pencil. Then using a carving tool called a “BURIL” and several other primitive tools, the artisan removes small pieces of gourd to create a three dimensional version of the original design. The designs are further enhanced with a heated burin using pressure to acquire the desired tones for that particular design. The varying shades of black, orange and brown are due to varying the pressure and time of application of the heated metal burin used in the burning process. The designs are not painted on the gourd, but rather etched and burnt, in a process similar to wood burning.”

Topics to Discuss when Work is Complete:

  • Would you want to make these gourds for a living if you knew that making several gourds a day could be traded for food for your family?
  • There are different types of gourds. Some gourds tell stories that are passed down family to family.
  • Gourd painting is a historical craft.

Adaptative strategies
If I had a child in my room with Asperger’s Syndrome I would make sure they sat at the end of a table to give them proper space, also we would follow the normal routine for this child to base our timing for activities. All that is said around this student will be taken literally therefore it must be completely thought out and rehearsed. I used the site on Asperger’s Syndrome to base my information: .

I will assess how the students were able to pay attention to directions and demonstrations. I will also assess how well the students were able to use the samples and books I provided for inspiration. Last, I will assess how well the students were able to construct their project and how they paid attention to detail to the main part of the lesson: Peruvian Gourds. At the end of the lesson students should be able to talk about Peruvian Gourds and why they are crafted.

Craftsmanship: ___/ 10

  • Work is complete, space are filled in completely.
  • Correct use of materials, adequate use of space

Participation and effort (including clean-up): ___/10

  • Student remained on task
  • Clean-up was complete, caps back on markers and all returned to right places

Following directions: ___/ 10

  • Student has drawn upon the visual reference for inspiration, and this is evident within their work -Design is centered around animals -Incorporation of art elements; student has demonstrated proficiency in using these elements

Grade:___/ 30 points

Pre or Post Lesson Extension:
Students will sketch out animal designs taken from Zoo books.

Follow-up Lesson Idea:
Students will create Arpilleras because they are connected to the Peruvian culture. The Arpilleras are pictures and quilts made out of fabric telling stories and giving messages to family members.

Comments on the Response to this Lesson:
This lesson went well. The students seemed to like the lesson and did well with most instructions. The only thing I thought the students could have done better with is the mixing of paint. The students had a hard time understanding that I wanted them to use dull colors, but ended up using bright colors.