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Taking part in an art auction

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Age group

Students ages 10 and 11


Any time

Time required

5 hours 15 minutes

Activity summary

Students examine and appreciate famous works of art. They learn about the law of supply and demand and the types of auctions. Students take part in an auction of famous paintings and then discover their actual value. Finally, they express their opinions of the works or art and discuss the prices.

Teachers can go a step further by encouraging students to act as painters and create works in the styles of well-known artists. They then proceed to auction off their works to raise money for a school activity.

Financial and cooperative skills

  • Understanding the principle of supply and demand
  • Determining the cost of goods and services


Subject-specific competencies



Progressions of learning

Visual arts

To appreciate works of art, traditional artistic objects, media images, personal productions and those of classmates

  • Justifies his/her point of view based on his/her observations.

English Language Arts

  • To write self-expressive, narrative, and information-based texts

  • To use language to communicate and learn

  • The student understands and applies conventions of written language to express thoughts, ideas and information for a specific purpose and audience, in own reading and writing.

  • Organizes and sequences ideas together and engages in dialogue.

  • Participate in discussions.


To reason using mathematical concepts and processes

  • Determine numerical equivalencies using the relationship between operations.

  • Use natural numbers under 1,000,000.

Cross-curricular competencies

  • Exercises critical judgment (evaluation portion)
  • Communicates appropriately


Students become familiar with works of art and learn about the law of supply and demand as well as the auction process.


Time required

45 minutes

Task 1

Appreciate work of art

Task 1 objective

By the end of this task, students will become familiar with certain works of arts and have the opportunity to express their opinions about them.


  • Discover students previous knowledge about the world of art.
  • Examine works of art as a class.
  • Lead a discussion with students and encourage them to share their opinions about the art pieces shown.
  • Speak to the students about their opinions and compare opinions of the same work of art.


Time required

60 minutes

Task 2

Supply and demand

Task 2 objective

By the end of this task, students will become familiarized with one of the foundations of our economic system: supply and demand.


  • Hand out the Supply and Demand sheet to the students.
  • Read the introduction with them and ask 2 questions: Do you think the first florist will always be able to sell the flowers at a high price? Why? Read the explanation with the students.
  • Read the exercise with the students and ask them to answer the question.
  • Ask the students to give examples of products whose prices are set according to supply and demand.
  • Watch the video that explains the principle of supply and demand to reinforce their knowledge.


Time required

45 minutes

Task 3


Task 3 objective

By the end of this task, students will be familiar with the basics of an auction.


  • Ask the students what they know about auctions.
  • Tell the students that there are different types of auctions. Focus on the most common 2—sealed-bid auctions and open ascending price auctions, in which the item goes to the highest bidder.
  • Draw a connection between auctions and the supply and demand principle: the more an object is desired, the more it sells for.


Students purchase paintings at an auction and comply with quantity and budget constraints.


Task 1

Take part un an auction

Task 1 objective

By the end of this task, students will be able to make bids on works of art based on their budgets by participating in a classroom auction.


  • Form teams of 4 students using the sociogram. Determine each student’s budget and minimum numbers of paintings they must purchase.
  • Distribute the Auctioning sheet and a number to each team.
  • Present the famous works of art suggested on the sheet using the interactive whiteboard or a projector.
  • Hold an open ascending price auction.
  • When the auction is finished, review the students’ experience.
  • Display a list of the most expensive works of art sold at auction. Ask the students to estimate the prices of these paintings. Then show the prices paid at auction.
  • Take note of the students’ reactions to the prices.


Students give their opinions of works of art.


Time required

120 minutes

Task 1

Give an opinion

Task 1 objective

By the end of this task, you will be able to assess the students’ ability to give their opinions of works of art.


  • Have the students write a one-page text stating their opinion of a work of art.
  • Collect the texts and correct them. This exercise can also be used to assess their writing.


Students organize an art exhibition and hold an auction.


Time required

Varies depending on the project


  • Have students create paintings in the style of the artist of their choice or an assigned artist.
  • Organize an exhibition of their work. Invite other students from the school and their parents.
  • Ask parents to take part in a fundraising auction of the students’ work.