Teach PA History
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The Three Faces of William Penn
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Ask students if they know the meaning of the name Pennsylvania. ("Silva" is a Latin noun for "woods," and "Penn" was added by King Charles II in honor of Admiral Sir William Penn. Although the name honored his father, Penn felt it would signal vanity on his part, so he explained that Penn reflected the Welsh word for "head." Pennsylvania as intended by the King, would mean "Penn of having woods".) Then ask students to close their eyes and visualize Pennsylvania when William Penn arrived along the shores of the Delaware River in 1682. Call on volunteers and list their answers on the chalkboard. (student answers may include seeing trees, woods, forest, animals such as deer and squirrels, birds, water, Native Americans)

Ask students to brainstorm a list of images they would include in a painting of William Penn landing on the shore of the Delaware River. List answers on chalkboard. (student answers may include ships, shore of the Delaware River, Native Americans, William Penn, animals, trees, other colonists)

Explain to students that different artists produce different images of the same event, depending on when they lived and their points of view. (Here you could ask students if they would describe events in their lives differently from their parents or brothers and sisters.) To further show different points of view, compare the different answers given by students about their images of Penn's landing. Stress that each student may depict this event differently depending on his or her mental image or point of view.

Introduce the works of Benjamin West, Edward Hicks, and Jack Savitsky. Refer to the Teacher Background Information to help with this discussion. Do not tell students the dates of each painting but allow them to speculate on Worksheet 1: Data Collection. Explain that the students will examine each artist's rendition of William Penn's 1682 treaty with the Indians. First they will work individually and analyze one of the three paintings in detail. Then they will work with two other students, each of whom has analyzed one of the other two paintings to complete an analysis of all three works.

Distribute copies of the West painting to one third of the class, copies of the Hicks painting to one third of the class, and copies of the Savitsky painting to the remaining students. Distribute Worksheet 1: Data Collection and give students approximately 10 minutes to answer the questions for their assigned artists. When all students have completed their portions of Worksheet 1: Data Collection, divide students into groups of three, each student representing a different artist. Direct students to share their information with the group and to complete Parts A - C of Worksheet 1.

Debrief with a discussion as to why the paintings by West, Hicks, and Savitsky have the same topic but different interpretations. Use the background information on the three artists from Teacher Background Information and the debriefing section of Teacher Guide 1: Data Collection and Debriefing Guide to help with this portion of the lesson.

Distribute Worksheet 2: Artwork Analysis. Explain to students that they will use the data collected to write a one-page analysis that will focus on one aspect used by the artists - symbolism, color, or placement of images and figures – to compare and contrast the painting discussed in class. Here it might be helpful to go over the evaluation criteria listed in the directions on the worksheet. Their analysis will be graded on four categories: 1) description of the subject matter in each painting; 2) analysis of the dominant element used by each artist; 3) interpretation of the relationship between history events and individual perception; and 4) evaluation of artwork using multiple criteria such as composition, expression, design, and communication of theme or ideas.

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