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Measle Mouse Quarantined From His Fans Karl Wirsum

Lesson Plan | Karl Wirsum: Robotic Animal Figures – MMoCA


Measle Mouse Quarantined From His Fans, 1980, acrylic on wood, 


Visual Art, Language Arts, Geometry 


Meri Lau, art educator 

Essential Questions

  1. How does engaging in creating art enrich people’s lives?
  2. How does making art attune people to their surroundings?
  3. How do people contribute to awareness and understanding of their lives and the lives of their communities through art-making? 

Grade Level



  • Students will construct a three-dimensional or two-dimensional animal figure that suggests a story about its condition. 


Students work individually and in a group to create two- and three-dimensional robotic-looking animal figures. Show Karl Wirsum’s sculpture, Measle Mouse Quarantined by his Fans, and begin a conversation about whether it is an animal or a machine.

Enduring Understanding
Through art-making, people make meaning by investigating and developing awareness of perceptions, knowledge and experiences.

Discussion Questions

  1. Has anyone ever had measles? Or chicken pox? Hives? Bee stings? Acne? Shingles? Mosquito bites?
  2. Look closely at Measle Mouse Quarantined from His Fans. What do you think may have happened to Measle Mouse?
  3. What does it mean to be quarantined? Why might someone be quarantined?
  4. Does Measle Mouse look real? Why, or why not?
  5. How would Measle Mouse move? Show us.
  6. Why would Measle Mouse move in this way?
  7. What would you include on a pretend remote control that you would design for your animal robot?


Part 1
Students construct a three-dimensional animal figure that is free-standing, symmetrical and geometrical (robotic looking). Instruct students to cut shapes of rectangles and squares that can be shaped into circles and triangles.

Part 2
Students create a two-dimensional animal figure that is symmetrical and geometric (robotic looking). Instruct students to draw an animal figure by making a template that is symmetrical and tracing it onto cardboard, tagboard, foam core. Students make remote controls.

Part 3
Students assemble a large, group-generated, robotic-looking animal that can be three dimensional or two dimensional.

  • Large-group or individual construction
  • Collaboration; working together to create symmetry

Part 4
Students construct a movable puppet made out of shapes and perform to music

  • Students pair music and art together


Research, collect and share creative writing and videography about community 


National Core Arts Standards


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