Exploring with Google Arts & Culture

New Learning Tool

Recently a colleague of mine asked me to help him run an Elementary After School Activity (ASA). He would be introducing students to the website and app, Google Arts & Culture. I had never used this website or app before, but I love learning about new tech tools, so I agreed.

Since both my colleague and I were pretty new to this learning tool, our main goal for students was to explore the different ways Google Arts & Culture could be used. We met with our ASA group of 17 students once a week after school. Each week we introduced something new from the Google Arts & Culture site.  I’ll share what we did each week. Maybe you will get some ideas! Or let me know how you’ve used this tool with your students!

  • Week 1 Explore

During our first session together, we introduced the site and the various ways it could be used. We also spent some time talking about responsible use of the site since students may find some nudity in the art they come across. It is important; especially for young users, to know how to handle seeing nudity in art.

Photo by Cathy Mü on Unsplash

I found the website appropriate for the students we were working with (our students ranged from grades 3-5), but I can see how some of the content is for older students. Common Sense Media says the app is appropriate for ages 12+.  So when considering that students may see some nudity in art, you may want to take a look at this guide on Addressing Nudity in Art from The Museum of Art and Archaeology University of Missouri.

With Blob Opera, you can create your own opera-inspired song (with no musical skills needed). Before students explored this fun tool, my colleague and I offered students some background knowledge of opera music with a few short YouTube videos and this fun one on “Kids Meet an Opera Singer.”

We also gave students the option to explore Incredibox, another music-creating site (this was their favorite!).  Then we gave them time to play. As students created songs, they shared the links on our Google Arts & Culture Padlet. At the end of each 50-minute session, we took 5 minutes in the end to share. Here’s an example one.

  • Week 3 Art Filter/ Art Coloring Book

This session was all about using famous pieces of art to have fun! To start our third session off, we began by giving students some background information on the different types of paintings. Then we looked at the  12 Most Famous Paintings of All Time.  Then it was time to try all the fun tools out!

Art Filter & Art Transfer (on app)

These two features can only be used on the app, but they are fun to play around with. Art Filter allows you to try filters based on iconic artifacts. While Art Transfer, lets you transform your photos with inspiration from renowned artists. To find these features from the app, click on the camera button and the options will appear.

This student used the Art Filter feature to transform the “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Vermeer.

Art Puzzle Party

If you enjoy puzzles, this is a fun tool! You can choose from a variety of art pieces, then the site turns it into a puzzle for you to reconstruct. An added bonus is that they give you the option to add friends so they can help you build the puzzle virtually!

You can even make this interactive by adding friends!

Art Coloring Book

The Art Coloring Book feature allows you to choose the colors for a famous piece of art. It’s basically a virtual coloring book. This tool might be useful when teaching contrasting colors too!

Students can “repaint” the famous Frida Kahlo painting.


This tool extracts colors from the pictures you take with your camera in real-time. Then it takes the color extracted from your photo and applies it to a famous painting.

I tried one using “The Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh.
  • Week 4 Virtual Tours/ 360 Tours

If you’ve ever used Google Expeditions, some of these tours may be familiar to you. Expeditions is moving all of their tours over to Google Arts & Culture, and Expeditions will no longer exist after this summer.

Students can tour a range of places such as famous sites and landmarks, Museums, and 360-degree videos. This is a great way to escape the classroom; especially, during COVID, when we can’t all go on field trips.

Because I am new to this learning tool, I haven’t had much time integrating its use into my classroom yet. It was fun having the chance to explore it with students as an After School Activity though. Plus, I got to see how it could be used and now I have some ideas of what I may do next.

Integration in the classroom

The first thing I tried out with my own class was using some of the images related to historical time periods. I am currently teaching a Historical Fiction Book Club Unit and one of the lessons asks students to use a primary source from a particular time period. Then the student has to connect that image or document to their text.

For example, this Star of David taken from a Jewish ghetto in Lodz will help my students connect to the Star of David in our read-aloud text, “Number the Stars.” By using the image provided by Google Arts & Culture students get to see what the real Star of David that was placed on Jewish people looked like in the concentration camps. They also get some background information about the person who it came from. This is a great way to get readers to connect to the story and the history behind the story.

I put together a list of resources on Google Classroom for students from Google Arts & Culture connected to the book club topics in my classroom.

I hope to find more useful ways to use this learning tool in my classroom. If you have used Google Arts & Culture in your classroom, please share some of your ideas! I’ve also included a few resources I came across. Hopefully, you find some meaningful ways to use this fun tool with your students. Or you can even check out the fun ways to get your family involved!


Tips for Teachers

3 Way Google Arts & Culture Can Enrich Your Lessons

15 History Lesson Ideas for Google Arts & Culture

Author: Andrea Goodrich

I am an international educator working in Hanoi, Vietnam. I have been working overseas for the past 13 years. I started my career in a bilingual school in Guayama, Puerto Rico as a fifth and sixth-grade reading teacher. Then I moved to Guayaquil, Ecuador, and taught fourth grade for two years. While living in Ecuador, I met my husband and we moved to Seoul, South Korea together. In Seoul, I taught fifth grade for two years and then moved into a literacy specialist role. We are now teaching in Hanoi, Vietnam with our two Korean rescue dogs.

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