The Murals of Diego Rivera

The Murals of Diego Rivera lesson plan

Discover the value of social commentary as you turn a newspaper story into original artwork similar to Diego Rivera's portraits in murals.

  • 1.

    View and discuss the murals of Diego Rivera, a famous Mexican muralist. Describe the imagery Rivera used and the social/historical significance of the portraits he painted in his murals. Compare and contrast Rivera's murals to contemporary murals (such as Philadelphia's Anti-Graffiti Network murals) or those in your area. Identify similarities and differences in technique and subject matter.

  • 2.

    Read a human interest story from a newspaper. Imagine the people described. Are they old or young? Happy or sad? What does their environment look like? Who are they with?

  • 3.

    On construction paper, use Crayola® Crayons to draw an interesting person in the story. What do you imagine this person looks like? What might she or he be doing? Include details, such as clothing and facial expressions, that dramatically tell the story.

  • 4.

    Write a sequel to the story you just illustrated. What might happen next? Display illustrations and stories in a hallway mural.


  • Children recognize the distinctive characteristics of Diego Rivera's work.
  • Students discover the role of social commentary in mural making, and recognize important connections between current events and the arts.
  • Children create original artwork based upon their explorations.


  • Create a mural of opposites. For each sad story you illustrate, create a sequel that is happy. Include solutions to the problems you encounter in your drawings.
  • Choose one single day, and illustrate several stories you read in the newspaper. Place many classroom drawings together in a single display, creating a contemporary "slice of life" mural. Date it. Create another similar mural a month later, and compare th
  • Select a current issue and follow it in the news over time. Create a mural depicting the people and events that are shaping the outcome.