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March 3, 2014

Seven deadly sins art scavenger hunt – Lesson Plan

By Katie Gould, PBS NewsHour Extra Teacher Resource Producer 


Each year the festival of Mardis Gras is celebrated on the Tuesday before the Christian season of Lent begins in March. Mardis Gras, or “Fat Tuesday”, is a world-wide event that often features parades and raucous partying. To kick off Mardi Gras 2014, PBS NewsHour is bringing you “Vice Week”- seven days dedicated to the seven deadly sins. PBS NewsHour Extra will be joining in with an art history lesson plan: Seven Deadly Sins Art Scavenger Hunt. Students will be given a brief primer on the seven deadly sins and art history, then use online art museum galleries to find works that feature the seven sins. Presentations of the found works should be creative and artistic.

Note: Students should follow their school’s copyright policy when using images of the works of art and should document their use with proper citations.


History, art history

Estimated Time

One 90 minute class period

Grade Level

High school


Warm Up Activity

Introduction to Mardi Gras

Introduce students to Mardi Gras by showing the following History Channel video

Ask students how the holiday has changed in the last two hundred years?

In its present form, Mardi Gras has become a celebration of vice (immoral or wicked behavior) and there are no behaviors considered worse than the seven deadly sins.

Main Activity

Seven Deadly Sins Scavenger Hunt

To introduce students to the seven deadly sins, play this trailer from the History Channel’s documentary on the subject.

Hand out the “Project Page” and explain the art history scavenger hunt project that students will participate in.

Pass out the “Vocabulary” handout to students. Go over the definitions, then give students time to visualize the sins and complete the second step of the handout. Finally make sure they understand what they will need to write down on their “Works of Art” page by going over the art terms and their examples on page two.

Hand out the “Online Museum List” to students and allow them to search for examples of the seven deadly sins from the best art collections in the U.S. and around the world. They should record the important information about the works on their “Works of Art” page and save the images to a file where they can easily find them.

Finally, students should come up with a creative and artistic way to present their seven deadly sins works of art.  Some examples are: a seven deadly sins collage, a seven deadly sins power point or slide show, a set of seven puppets that represent the art and the sin, etc.

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