History of Street Art and Make Your Own Mural Activity

Lesson Activities & Lesson Plans

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Have you seen any of the murals in Lynn before?
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About this lesson

For this lesson, students will learn about the history of graffiti and its evolution to street art. Students will learn about the different factors that go into creating a mural by analyzing the art of Ruben Ubiera, and use these to guide their own mural design.

For a more in depth background information on the lesson topics, questions and pointers to help guide class discussions, links to videos to show in class, and lesson worksheets, among other things, download the unit guide below. You can also download an accompany PowerPoint for this lesson below.


Students will be able to…

1. Discuss the history of graffiti and its evolution into Street Art.

2. Analyze a work of art to understand its meaning.

3. Create a design for a mural that demonstrates an understanding of creative problem solving.


Visual Arts


  • Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work. (5-6.V.Cr.01)
  • Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. (5-6.V.Cr.02)
  • Refine and complete artistic work. (5-6.V.Cr.03.a-b)


  • Select, analyze and interpret artistic work for presentation. (5-6.V.P.04)
  • Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.(5-6.V.P.05)
  • Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work. (5-6.V.P.06)


  • Relate artistic ideas and works to societal, cultural and historical contexts to deepen understanding. (5-6.M.Co.11)


English Language Arts

Text Types and Purposes

  • Write arguments (e.g., essays, letters to the editor, advocacy speeches) to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. (W.6.1.a-e)

Production and Distribution of Writing

  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (W.6.4)

Comprehension and Collaboration

  • Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. (SL.6.1)
  • Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study. (SL.6.2)

Knowledge of Language

  • Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening. (L.6.3)


Extension activities for Visual Arts, ELA, and Science and Technology standards are included below and in the unit guide.



Street Art




Computer with internet access




Colored pencils, markers, or crayons

Lesson Procedures

To start this lesson, gauge the classroom on their understanding of graffiti and street art. To do this, ask students if they know what graffiti is. Next, ask if they know what street art is. The goal is to have students understand that the main difference between the two is permission – if the art was sanctioned by someone or not.

It is important to note that the teacher/instructor is not trying to say that graffiti (being the “illegal” one) is bad or not. Rather, by discussing graffiti students will understand its evolution into what is today called street art.

For a more in depth background information on the lesson topics, questions and pointers to help guide class discussions, links to videos and PowerPoints to show in class, and lesson worksheets, among other things, read the unit guide

1. Discuss the definition and history of graffiti, then discuss its evolution into street art. Make sure to discuss the definition of “mural.”

2. Show students examples of graffiti and street art and have them compare and contrast.

3. Introduce students to the artist, Ruben Ubiera, and his thoughts on “postgraffism.” To do this, show students the video of his interview.

4. Show students Ruben’s mural “Guerilla” and have them analyze the artwork using the accompanying worksheet.

5. Introduce students to the “Create Your Own Mural” art activity. For this activity, students must design their own mural using an actual wall within their local community. Students will spend time drafting, reviewing, and editing their artwork. Afterwards, students will present their mural to the rest of the class. For more instruction on this activity, including a description and criteria, refer to the unit guide

Extension Activities

Visual Arts

5-6.V.R.07- 09 and 5-6.V.Co.10

Shows students an example of graffiti art next to Ruben’s “Guerilla” and have them create a venn diagram to compare and contrast the two images.

Next, have students write down how the artist uses two elements of art in each image.

Lastly, based on responses to the above questions, have students discuss if they do or do not like the graffiti work and Ruben’s work. They must explain their answers.

English Language Arts


Shows students an example of graffiti art next to Ruben’s “Guerilla.” Then, have students create a venn diagram to compare and contrast the two images.

Have students write a paragraph summarizing the similarities and differences using the venn diagram they created.


6.MS-ETS1-1, 6.MS-ETS1-5(MA), and 6.MS-ETS1-6(MA)

Rather than letting students choose their own wall, the teacher provides one wall to all students, allowing everyone to work within the same design problem. The chosen wall should include obstacles the student has to work around, including windows, pipes, vents, etc.

Next, instead of students tracing the printed photo of their wall, have students create a scaled drawing of both the wall and of their mural.


If you follow the unit guide, assessment is conducted regularly throughout the lesson in the form of group discussions and activities.

For alternatives, go to the resources section of the unit guide. This will take you to a document with a comprehensive list of assessment options. Though they are geared more towards Visual Arts, they can be altered or used for other curriculums, such as ELA and Science/Technology.

Exit slips are also a great strategy for assessment at the end of a lesson. For these slips, have students respond to the following questions:

Write one thing you learned today.
Write one question you have about today’s lesson.
Did you enjoy the lesson activities?