Irresistibly Retro Glasses

Irresistibly Retro Glasses lesson plan

Styles go in and out of fashion. Take a closer look at another time period and recreate a once-fashionable look in eyewear. History has never been so much fun!

  • 1.

    Calling something RETRO merely means returning to a style, a look from before. What is your favorite time period, style wise? Would you want to wear pointy, cat’s eyes glasses from the Fifties or the big, geometric shapes lens of the Seventies? Review magazines, movies, family pictures, or other images from the era to become familiar with its style. Can you find styles that have returned in your parents’ or grandparents’ lifetimes?

  • 2.

    Sketch a pair of life-size or larger glasses—regular glasses or sunglasses—with Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils. Remember to draw a bridge for your nose as well as the temples to hook around your ears. Create separate pieces or make the glasses all in one. When you are satisfied with the historic look, draw the glasses on white Crayola Color Explosion™ Paper. Cut out the glasses with Crayola Scissors.

  • 3.

    Use the white Color Explosion™ Marker to decorate the frames with surprising colors. Add details such as rims and trim with the black marker. For some eras, you’ll want to add Glitter Glue for sparkle. Air-dry the glitter glue.

  • 4.

    Glue any separate pieces together. Air-dry the glue.

  • 5.

    Remember, someday what you wear today will be considered RETRO to people tomorrow.


  • Students study the fashion look of different, contemporary time periods.
  • Students keenly observe the elements that define a certain style.
  • Students design their own eyewear using a style from an earlier time.


  • Since ancient times, people have been wearing glasses for function and for fashion. Nero is said to have looked through an emerald to cut the sun glare during gladiator battles. Ancient Chinese people thought sunglasses were a good way to hide one’s expre
  • In the 1700s a pair of glasses cost $200. What else could that amount of money buy at that time? How much do glasses cost now? What else can you buy for that amount?
  • What science is involved with manufacturing prescription lenses and frames for glasses and sunglasses? How were lenses and their frames invented? What materials have been and are used to make them?
  • Who were the fashion mavens of past decades? Can you label such people today or do you need time to tell who are the style leaders?
  • Make a collage to celebrate your fashion time period. See if classmates can match up the glasses to the style poster.
  • Display the glasses along a timeline showing fashions in eyewear. Why not add footwear, hats, and other apparel to give a bigger picture of bygone eras (and those to come).
  • Assessment: Can students define what the term Retro means? Have they accurately captured a recognizable era in the design of their eyeglasses?