Students examine Martin Puryear’s "Ladder for Booker T. Washington" and consider how the title of Puryear’s sculpture is reflected in the meanings we can draw from it. They learn about Booker T. Washington’s life and legacy, and through Puryear's ladder, students explore the African American experience from Booker T.'s perspective and apply their knowledge to other groups in U.S. History. They also gain understanding of how a ladder can be a metaphor for a person’s and a group’s progress toward goals.
When you visit an art museum and enter one of the halls filled with paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures your eye falls on the image closest to you and you wonder, "What is that picture about?" This lesson plan focuses on helping students to answer that question by investigating the of works of art. This lesson plan will provide a guide for gathering clues embedded in works of art, as well as an introduction to searching for the underlying meaning and messages that are present in many works of art. Students will work, step by step, through the layers of meaning, delving more deeply into these layers with each work as they progress through the lesson.