GRADE LEVEL: 5th/6th
TIME FRAME: Three (3) sessions at 45 minutes each.
TOPIC: A visual arts lesson that introduces students to Native American cultures expressed through rock art.
Artistic Perception- Students will, utilizing earth-tone colored paints and a rough textured paper medium, create primitive forms and caricatures.
Creative Expression- Students will develop primitive forms and caricatures to represent meaningful figures and/or events in their own lives.
Historical and Cultural Context- Students will develop insight by creating their own meaningful rock art as to how Native American cultures lived and communicated through rock art.
Aesthetic Valuing- Students will present their own works to the class, and attempt to interpret the relevant meaning from other student's work.
Different cultures express themselves in different ways. This lesson provides students with a better understanding of, and appreciation for, Native American cultures and art through rock art. Students will gain a better understanding of primitive visual art and its related interpretation as a meaningful expression of culture. This lesson will enable students to appreciate cultural art and artifacts as a means of communication.
INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES: Direct Instruction, Inquiry and Group Process
Rock art, Pictograph, Petroglyph, Earth-tone colors
Rock art- Images created on rock, either by etching or painting. These images are believed to have been created by ancient Native American civilizations, and are most prevalent in the deserts of the southwest U.S.
Pictograph- A rock art image that is painted or drawn.
Petroglyph- A rock art image that is chiseled or etched.
Earth-tone colors- Colors representing those found in nature.
To develop student interest, begin by exploring literature about young Native American boys or girls that describe what their life might have been like. Follow these examples by displaying images of Native American rock art found throughout the U.S., especially in the southwestern desert areas (these are available in Native American art books, national parks publications, travel and hiking guides, etc.), to further support the daily cultural theme.
(Session 1): Drawing crude sketches of actual examples on the chalkboard, begin to surmise with students WHO might have drawn these, HOW they drew them and WHAT could they possibly mean? Finally, distribute examples/images of rock art to students and ask them to replicate these designs, using only paper and charcoal pencils, as best they can (this is practice for the following activity).
(Session 2): Divide class into groups of two or three students each. Explain that each group will represent an individual community. Given basic materials (such as earth-tone paints and heavy brown textured packing paper) and using only primitive symbols and forms, each community should create a panel (pictograph) which represents their family structure, community, friends and/or meaningful events in their lives.
(Session 3): Student communities share their ˝pictographsţ with the class. The class then suggests possible interpretations of the community═s structure based on the symbols and caricatures. This activity focuses on artistic interpretation and prepares students to think about what the artist(s) might be trying to express.
Evaluation will be based on three (3) criteria: The student's ability to demonstrate line and form techniques present in rock art (session 1).
The student's ability to create a community rock art panel using basic materials (session 2).
The student's ability to present possible interpretations of a rock art panel, created by other student communities (session 3).
heavy bond packaging paper, earth-tone art materials (paints, chalk, charcoals), juvenile literature about Native Americans, and examples/images of rock art
Clean-up for this activity is minimal. After panels have been created, have students return all unused materials to their proper home(s). Display all panels throughout the classroom or in the hallway as part of an ongoing theme exploring Native American cultures.
Learning techniques which enable students to create actual petroglyphs.
Learning how rock art is dated by archaeologists.
Integrating Native American music, dance and drama into the activity.
Visiting a Native American art exhibit.