This second grade lesson combines a watercolor wash, drawing with construction paper crayons, symmetry, and a little color theory. In another version, students draw symmetrical cityscapes on black paper, but one day I came across sunset cityscapes at the TeachKidsArt blog which inspired me to combine the two ideas.
First, students use sponges and either warm or cool colors for the washes. They wet the whole paper first with the sponges using clean water, then fill the paper with color, either stroking or blotting the paint. If papers are not wet enough, I am right there with a spritzer bottle. :-). I have them use sponges for the wash because I don't have any large-sized watercolor brushes. The sponges have the additional benefit of adding some interesting texture. The washes are put aside for later (in our case, this is weeks later).
For the cityscape drawing lesson, I first have students observe and discuss several photographs and art examples of cityscapes. Then I ask them to tell me what they know symmetry. The most common responses usually refer to a line, so I use questioning to bring the discussion around to what it means to be symmetrical, and how we know something is symmetrical. I also introduce the word bilateral, explaining that "bi" means "2" and "lateral" means "side" -- this leads students to the idea that bilateral symmetry means that two sides are the same.
The cityscape is drawn on black construction paper using construction paper crayons (which they love!). I suggest that students first draw a horizontal base line, then start with the center building. They color in doors, windows, and roofs before adding two identical buildings on each side of the center one. They work out from the center two buildings at a time, coloring in all details. When the drawings are complete -- that is, they have drawn as many buildings as will fit -- they cut around the buildings and glue the silhouette onto their own watercolor wash.
After students have a chance to walk around and see everyone else's work, I have them discuss with a partner what they like most about their composition, and explain how they used bilateral symmetry.