Lesson Plans:
Pottery 1: Discovery

This is the first lesson from the unit, Discovering Pottery in North Carolina.  It is designed to prepare students for the additional two lessons of this unit. The unit contains 3 lesson plans, 4 active links within the lesson plans that can be printed as hand outs.

Grades/Subject: Grade 4 Visual Arts Education
Related Subjects: Social Studies and Language Arts

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students will be motivated to discover and explore the basics of pottery by responding to a book reading and viewing examples of North Carolina pottery.
  2. Students will handle a few physical examples of pottery as well.

Teacher Planning:

  • It would be helpful to bookmark the websites listed below in order to refer to them quickly.
  • Both books contain vocabulary words that will have to be defined. The first book is suitable for the 4th grade reading level, while the second will serve as a reference for the teacher.


  • Examples of glazed pottery
  • Books:
    • The Pottery Placeby Gail Gibbons
    • North Carolina Art Pottery by James Everett
  • “Exploration Recording” Sheet
  • Access to internet for the following:


    1. Teacher will present The Pottery Place, reading it aloud so students begin to develop some background knowledge about how pottery is created.
    2.  “Exploration Recording” sheet will be handed out so students can record in the section to the left, “Before I Explore,” information they think they already know about pottery.
    3. Teacher will engage them in a discussion of expectations and guiding questions for the “While I’m Exploring” section.
    4. While introducing the examples, students will be shown a proper way to handle pottery.
    5. Students should record in the “While I’m Exploring” section observations and things they notice about the pottery, keeping in mind the guiding questions.
    6. Turning to the websites, in the classroom for all to see, or at the school’s computer lab, students can explore the pottery pages.
    7. They can record in the “While I’m Exploring” section things they learn from the two sites.
    8. Following the website and book exploration, students should record in the right section, “After I Explore,” things they have changed their mind about, things that they found surprising and things they’re still wondering about.
    9. Allow time for students to share discoveries with class members.


    The Pottery Place features several vocabulary words and their definitions. Below are the words that are pertinent to an understanding of pottery:
    wedge throw kiln fire

    Pie Plates
    Pottery Pie Plates


    Students will be evaluated through self-assessment and teacher evaluation. Teacher will assess whether students addressed the guiding questions on the “Exploration Recording" sheet by comparing observations from the discovery portion of the lesson to what they have written.


    Suggestion for students with special needs: Allow the students to work as partners as they explore and record.

    North Carolina Curriculum Alignment:

    • Visual Arts Competency Goal 1
    • Social Studies, Grade 4, Learning objective: 5.02
    • Language Arts, Grade 4, Learning objectives 2.02 & 3.06

    Attachments & Other Item:

    Exploration Recording sheet


    • Gibbons, Gayle, The Pottery Place, (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987)
    • Everette, James A., North Carolina Art Pottery, (Padukah, KY: Collector Books, c2003)

    Click here for Lesson 2 of this unit.

    - Lesson submitted by Angela Lovedahl, Curriculum Coordinator of Jackson County Schools, Sylva, NC.
    Adapted by Jada Hansen.