Lesson Plan

Sergio Gonzales-Tornero, Wolf,1973, aquatint with embossing

Lesson plan developed by Luke Kloberdanz, Ouisconsing School of Collaboration, Lodi, Wisconsin

Grade Level


Summary of Activity

Throughout history humans have demonized certain animals, such as the wolf, which has influenced how many people have come to think of these animals. These beliefs, which have been distilled in stories such as Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, and other well known stories, effect our perceptions of these animals thus impacting policies toward wolf protection, the way we live with wolves, and our understanding of these majestic creatures. To dispel the myths about wolves, students will first research the history of wolves in literature utilizing traditional folk tales and generational stories from around the world. Students will also research facts about wolves, such as their physical attributes, social structure, and geographic range; learning resources could include a presentation by a zoologist/wolf expert. Sergio Gonzalez-Tornero’s aquatint, Wolf, will be used to model "flipping" a perception through visual art. Collaboration with the art teacher in positively portraying an animal will be beneficial to the overall outcome. In an effort to change the perception of wolves, students will then re-write one of the traditional folk tales to portray the wolf(ves) as a superhero or other protagonist in picture-book format.

Learning Objectives

Students will learn how common folk tales from around the world have altered people’s views about certain animals. Using Sergio Gonzales-Tornero's aquatint, Wolf, as a launching point, students will read fiction and nonfiction resources to find inaccuracies in the ways that animals, such as the wolf, have been represented over time and how those perceptions have impacted the species. Students will use fictional writing to accurately represent a misrepresented animal by creating a "flipped" folk tale. 

Guiding Question

How can we use literature and visual images to change the negative perception of the wolf, which has been developed through long-told stories, to a more realistic and positive view?

Curriculum Connections

  • Nonfiction Reading and Writing
  • Folktales
  • Fiction reading and writing
  • Fine Arts


Sergio Gonzalez-Tornero, Wolf, MMoCA Art on Tour exhibition, MMoCA staff, Display area, Smart Board and/or LCD projector, Zoologist/Wolf Expert, Art Teacher, Picture book supplies, Traditional folk tales with wolves as one of the main characters, Nonfiction resources about wolves 


Read aloud a traditional story that portrays the wolf as an antagonist. As a group, discuss the literary elements the author has used to cast the wolf in a negative light. After this discussion, visit a local or regional zoo or animal sanctuary to observe authentic wolf behavior, or invite a wolf expert to class to share facts about wolves and their behaviors. Student research and use of the Internet can substitute for a field study or an expert presentation. Using Sergio Gonzalez-Tornero’s aquatint, Wolf, discuss how the artist portrayed the wolf in a more playful light. Talk about how it is possible to alter the way we think about things by reading literature and looking at visual art. Explain to the students that they will be "flipping" a traditional story that portrays the wolf as the antagonist. Tell them that they will use literary elements and illustrations to portray the wolf as the protagonist in a picture book that they will create.


Read aloud a traditional folk tale that features a wolf as the antagonist. Afterward, instruct students to read on their own other stories and folk tales that represent wolves in this same role. Explain that students will summarize the stories in small groups and point out for others in the class the literary components that the authors used to portray the wolf in a negative light.

Students will then individually re-write one of the stories shared during the group discussion to portray the wolf as the protagonist. They will create a picture book that uses illustration to help convey a positive image of the wolf. Students will then read aloud their picture book for the rest of the class.

Common Core Standards

4.RL.2, 4.RL.3, 4.RL.4, 4.RL.6, 4.RL.7, 4.RL.9, 4.RFS.4, 4.W.3, 4.W.4, 4.W.9, 4.SL.1, 4.SL.3, 4.L.3, 4.L.5, 4.L.6

Sergio Gonzalez-Tornero (Chilean, b. 1927), Wolf, 1973, aquatint with embossing, 17¾  x 23¾ inches. Purchase, through funds from the School Loan Program. Collection of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

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