Pollock Force and Motion


Science and Art

  • 30-45 Minutes


Lesson Overview:

Start by showing students the short animated film Mati and Dada – Jackson Pollock. Ask students what was interesting about Jackson Pollock’s artwork? How was it different?

Look at some of Pollock’s work using the NGA’s handout. Play a game of “I Spy”… what do students “spy” in this painting? How did Pollock use the world around him to create art?


Step 1: Explore the idea of gravity. Ask students to predict what would happen if we dropped a marble on the floor. Would it bounce? Then conduct the experiment. Repeat this with a tennis ball. What is the same? What is different?

Step 2: Share that there are two forces of motion at work: push and pull. We can either push something or pull something. What do you think is happening with the marble and the tennis ball?

Step 3: Explain that students will be creating their own forces of motion Pollockinspired painting. Provide each student with an aluminum tray, a piece of white paper, access to several bottles of tempera paint, and a marble. If doing this in groups, you can use a large cardboard box and a sheet of bulletin board paper.

Step 4: Ask students to think about what colors would work best together. They need to think about color mixing: what primary colors would make a nice secondary color?

Step 5: Push the paint onto the center of the paper in the tray by squirting it out from the bottle. Then drop the marbles on the paper and pull the paint around by tipping the container gently back and forth. Continue until students consider the painting



Can students:

• Identify what was the push and what was the pull in the painting activity?

• Create a work of art that reflects distinctive color choices • Use a variety of materials within an experiment?