The Still Life unit has never really been the most exciting unit my students look forward to but, hey, it's gotta be done! Still life artworks have a long historical past, generally for their storytelling uses back when the majority could not read. Objects in these artworks were symbolic of others things and larger concept so viewers could "read" a painting and learn a lesson from it. One famous example is An Allegory of the Vanities of Human Life:
Each of the items on the table were representative of "vanities" in life and, the fact that the skull was in the forefront suggests that everything behind it would lead to death.
Creating symbolic still lives is just one way to tackle that type of art. Students could also explore capturing texture by creating artwork of food or flowers, creating organized compositions of objects (like Theibaud), or playing with value and lighting through the use of an all white still life reference. The possibilities are endless!