Great 1 (50 minute class) or a 2 day project, depends on how detailed the wash is and how many gestures they draw. A fellow art teacher in the county gave me this idea years ago, and it rocks! Thanks Martha.
We do a lot of drawing lessons in art in 5th grade. This is a great beginner lesson on gesture drawing.
I put a wooden mannequin on each table in a different pose, that I have already made, and a basket of oil pastels. Students get 2 minutes to draw their mannequin. I demonstrate this first.
When time is up they move clock wise to the next table. 2 minutes again, with that gesture. I do ask the kids to turn their papers each time they move tables to get a different direction for the mannequin. If I don't they will draw all 6 in nice neat little rows, however some still do.
Also I do encourage overlapping and running the shapes off the paper for a great composition.
Students keep moving around to each table drawing for 2 minutes each, until they have completed 5. Then I, or I choose a student, to stand for 2 minutes in a pose (see picture) for students to sketch as well. They are to do this in shapes as well.
I do have 7 tables, and sometimes if time permits and space on their papers they do all 7 poses.
Water color wash on top. I think I let this class choose 4 colors, some did 5. Usually I make them pick a color scheme such as primary, secondary, warm, cool, analogous, etc. This day I didn't.