Rock Art Lesson Plan
Title: Seeing Ancient Worlds
Grade Level: 3-6
Objectives: Identify elements of nature portrayed in ancient Native American rock art.
Subject Areas: Natural Science, Social Science
Skills: Use artistic images to identify elements of nature and consider why they were depicted in ancient rock art.
Overview: Various elements of nature (animals, plants, astronomical features, etc.) are depicted in ancient Native American rock art. These images identify elements of the natural world that were important to prehistoric Native Americans.
Time: 30-60 minutes
Materials: Rock art images from the Nature Images Photo Gallery, either printed out (preferably in color) or shown on a computer screen. This activity can be conducted as a group exercise.
Activity: Have the students look at the images and identify various elements of nature. Then have the students group the elements into categories (for example, animals, plants, landscape features, astronomical features. The teacher can follow with a discussion on what these images tell us about the worlds of ancient Native Americans.
Assessment/Evaluation: Correct identification of images can measure general knowledge of nature and environment. Some images are stylized representations, so correct identification will depend on recognition of key features (for example, sun rays, silhouettes, etc.). Ideas about what the images were meant to illustrate can test knowledge of, or provide a platform for discussing, general characteristics of Native American culture and beliefs about the world.
Additional Activities: Illustrated books on Native American artifacts (see bibliography section for suggested references) can be used to compare and contrast the depiction of nature elements in other artistic media (e.g., pottery, personal ornaments, basketry, weaving, etc.).
Contributor: George Sabo III, Arkansas Archeological Survey