Edvard Munch: Things That Make Us Want to Scream

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After looking at Edvard Munch’s famous painting, The Scream, students will create their own artwork featuring images of things that make them want to scream.


About Edvard Munch:

Edvard Munch was born in Ekely, Norway on December 12, 1863 – the son of a military doctor. As a youngster, the tuberculosis deaths of both his mother and his teenage sister, left a profound mark on Edvard – the youngest of the Munch family. At the age of seventeen, after beginning to pursue a career in engineering, young Munch decided to give it all up to devote himself to painting. After studying at the Oslo Academy and under leading Norwegian artist Christian Krohg, he began showing his work – at times causing quite a stir. Spending summers in Norway and dividing the rest of his year between Paris and Germany, Munch attended literary circle meetings, exhibited regularly and experimented with woodcuts and etchings (in addition to paintings). As with most artists, much of Munch’s subject matter came directly from his life experiences. From the death of family members to love lost, the images in his art were at times too much for the general public to bear. Often called the first of the expressionists, Munch left an indelible mark on the history of art.


  • Learn about the artist Edvard Munch and his famous painting “The Scream”.
  • Learn about the connection of the explosion of Krakatoa and “The Scream” painting.
  • Create a drawing of the screaming man and draw items that make them want to scream.

What You Need:

  • Copies of the Scream for students
  • 8×12 drawing paper
  • Fat black Sharpie markers
  • Colored pencils
  • Web story of the correlation of “The Scream” to the explosion of Krakatoa.
    See link: HERE

What You Do:

  1. Spend the first day teaching about “The Scream” by Munch and the relationship of the background to the astronomical theories of Krakatoa’s explosion. (see HERE for the article to read to your class).
  2. Talk about why the man was screaming, and what causes one to well up into a scream, of fear or another emotion.
  3. Lead your students through the drawing of the head and hands of the screaming man in Munch’s work. Explain as you work, how this painting has inspired Hollywood: i.e. “Scream” movie mask, the famous scream Macauly Caulkin did in “Home Alone”, etc.
  4. Once students finish the drawings, have them outline the “screamer” with a black sharpie marker.
  5. Using items (not people) that make the students want to scream, have the students do drawings of things around the screaming man (i.e. needles, broccoli, brussels sprouts sprouts, etc.). Emphasize the importance of this being personal (I got some very creative responses!) and how to NOT use people, etc. The students picked terrorism and other political topics as well.
  6. When they are finished tracing, have the students add color. I chose colored pencils, but any colorful media would work. Remind students to color heavy, dark and to fill their page.

I displayed these in the hallway with a sign that said, “Things That Make Us Want To Scream!” and the faculty and students loved it! I also tied it in during Halloween week for added fun!



Edvard Munch - the Scream
The Scream, 1893
Oil, tempera and pastel on cardboard
National Gallery, Oslo