The Empty Pot Set Design

  • A girl is making a tree out of paper.
  • Two toddlers painting an art with orange color
  • A girl is painting on a large piece of paper.
  • A boy is working on a paper tree.
3rd Grade, Teaching

3rd grade artists have been studying China in their general education classes. The learned about Chinese culture and celebrations in Art and Music class. In Music, the read a Chinese folk story “The Empty Pot” which they loved! (read amazon’s book summary below) 3rd grade artists decided to collectively write a play with the Music teacher, Mrs. Traxler! Once the play was written, they decided the set and props necessary to make the performance possible! They painted two backdrops: 1 of Ping’s garden and 1 of the Emperor’s garden. They also created props, signage, and costumes! Take a look at their work!

China Celebration Photos:

The Empty Pot Video Part 1:

The Empty Pot Video Part 2:


The Empty Pot (Amazon):

When the Chinese emperor proclaims that his successor will be the child who grows the most beautiful flowers from the seeds the emperor distributes, Ping is overjoyed. Like the emperor, he loves flowers and anything he plants bursts into bloom. But the emperor’s seed will not grow, despite months of loving care, and Ping goes before the emperor carrying only his empty pot. The emperor ignores the beautiful blossoms brought by the other children and chooses Ping, revealing that the seeds he handed out had been cooked and could not grow. This simple story with its clear moral is illustrated with beautiful paintings. Each page contains a single picture, shaped like a stiff, rounded, paper fan, and framed in celadon brocade that subtly changes pattern from one spread to the next. Isometric perspective, traditional Chinese architecture, and landscape motifs are combined with Demi’s fine line and lively children and animals. While all the landscapes featuring the emperor and the other children are in brilliant red, gold, and purple, the scenes involving Ping alone are predominantly beige and delicate green. Ping is almost always shown as a solitary figure in contrast to the busy groups of running, smiling children, reinforcing the portrait of him as a quieter, more contemplative person whose values make him a worthy heir to the emperor. A beautifully crafted book that will be enjoyed as much for the richness of its illustrations as for the simplicity of its story. 

Students in the 3rd grade studied the landscape art of China. They learned that a landscape an artwork that depicts natural scenery such as mountains, trees, forests, plains, valleys, and rivers. Students learned that Chinese Landscape painting is the most popular style of painting in arts of China.  They are among the most important images in the history of Chinese art. They also learned that Chinese artists not only landscapes from observation but often painted idealized landscapes. Third graders viewed the artwork of Li Keran and his brushwork. They viewed how character can be seen in an artist’s brushstrokes and were inspired to create landscapes of their own.