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Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
"Exquisite Corpse" Travel Illustrations
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Procedures for Teachers is divided into four sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the Lesson.
Steps -- Conducting the Lesson.
Extensions -- Additional Activities.
Tips -- Managing Resources and Student Activities.


Student Prerequisites:
Students should have an understanding of the basic concept of the "exquisite corpse."

The term "exquisite corpse" comes from a surrealist game in which participants would contribute separately to the creation of one image. The part of the page drawn on by other participants is folded down so that no one knows what image they are contibuting to.

  • Old magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue
Computer Resources:
You will need at least one computer with Internet access to complete this lesson. While many configurations will work, we recommend:

  • Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster.
  • Browser: Netscape Navigator 3.0 or above or Internet Explorer 3.0 or above.
  • Macintosh computer: System 7.0 or above and at least 16 MB of RAM.
  • IBM-compatible computer: 386 or higher processor with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 3.1. Or, a 486/66 or Pentium with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 95.

    Additional Software:

    If students are creating their images digitally, Adobe Photoshop is the software of choice, but it is also possible to use PaintShop Pro and ClarisWorks.

    For more information, visit What You Need to Get Connected in wNetSchool's Internet Primer.

    The following sites should be bookmarked:

  •  How To Create An Exquisite Corpse

  •  Half Cleveland

    This site contains a definition of an "exquisite corpse" that can be printed and read to students, or just used as background material for the teacher.


    wNetStation's Web companion piece to the PBS series; the series focuses on the experiences of everyday travellers and their personal reactions to the cities and regions visited.

  •  Geographia

    A great starting place for background information on countries from Antigua to Zimbabwe.

  •  1997 World Fact Book

    There's not much here in the way of images, but there is an abundance of information about pretty much any country you can think of. Great for background and general knowledge.

  •  Geography World

    This teacher-created site has a clearly organized list of geography links.


    Time Allotment:
    This project will take 4-5 class periods.

  • The students should visit GOING PLACES Web companion piece and view the animated "corpse" seen there. Have students articulate what they can infer from the variations of head, torso, and legs. The animated image uses visual clues as ciphers for cultural and geographic information about the locations visited in the series. Images represent, for example, the archetypal British businessman, a biker, a cowboy, a skier.

    After the central idea of these usual ciphers has been demonstrated, assign, or allow students to choose, a geographic locale to research before making their illustrations. These locations can be taken from GOING PLACES, or can be based on specific curricular requirements.

  • Once locations have been chosen or assigned, students should begin their research. Background information and images may be researched and gathered in any of several ways: downloading and printing materials from the Web, searching through magazines and/or books, using CD-ROMs, and so on. For Internet research, distribute the Student Pathway found in the Organizers for Students section.

  • Students start to create their illustration. Each student's image of a figure must depict each of the following three visual clues as to location in all three sections:
    • The landscape or built environment: is it urban? rural? mountainous? desert? (Clues must be shown in head, torso, and legs.)
    • The climate: warm? dry? wet? cold? arid? (Clues must be shown in head, torso, and legs.)
    • The clothing typical of the region, and any accessories that might denote the location. (Clues must be shown in head, torso, and legs.)
    Students can create their images either digitally or manually. Each student should make one whole figure, keeping in mind that the final images will be cut into three sections and exchanged with sections created by classmates to produce the "exquisite corpse" effect.

  • The finished illustrations are cut into sections of three and combined with sections from other classmates to create the final "exquisite" versions. Students should be prepared to discuss their "corpses," and to provide classmates with information about the origins and significance of the various elements of the collage.

  • (Optional) Using Gif Builder ( -- software available on the Web as shareware -- groups of students could animate their illustrations to emulate the animation on the GOING PLACES home page.


    Language Arts: Students could write a description of a corpse. Students could also write a first-person narrative from the point of view of their original figure.

    History: Students could create illustrations for the same location at different points in history.


    One Computer in the Classroom
    If you have access to one computer in your classroom, you can organize your class in several ways. Divide your class into two groups. Instruct one of the groups to do paper research while the second group is working on the computer. Bring in books, encyclopedias, etc., from the library for the group doing paper research. Lead the group working at the computer through an Internet search or allow the students in the class to take turns. (Always have a set of bookmarks ready for the students before they start working on the computer, in order to show them examples of what to look for.) When the groups have finished working have them switch places.

    If you have a big monitor or projection facilities, you can do Internet research together as a class. Make sure that every student in your class can see the screen, go to the relevant Web site(s), and review the information presented there. You can also select a search engine page and allow your students to suggest the search criteria. Again, bookmark and/or print the pages that you think are helpful for reference later.

    Several Computers in the Classroom
    Divide your class into small groups. Groups can do Internet research using pages you have bookmarked. Group members should take turns navigating the bookmarked sites.

    You can also set the class up so that each computer is dedicated to one site. Students will then move around the classroom, getting different information from each station.

    Using a Computer Lab
    A computer center or lab space, with a computer-to-student ratio of one to three, is ideal for doing Web-based projects. This way, the small groups of students can help each other if problems or questions arise. It is often beneficial to bookmark sites for students ahead of time.

    Submit a Comment: We invite your comments and suggestions based on how you used the lesson in your classroom.

    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students