Friday, January 21, 2011

Lesson Plan: Prehistoric Art

This is one of my favorite lesson plans. I really like it because it is a great way to combine technology and art, not an easy task to accomplish when art is all about being hands on. Then I thought about it, technology integration should have a purpose, not just be there to be there for the sake of integrating, but to give students more of an understanding.

Duh! I know.

So in order for my students to better understand Prehistoric Art, I thought what a better way than to use technology to help transport us back in time. (Hey I think I may have just found found my niche that others have written to incorporate technology into an art curriculum...let me know what you think.)

When students walk in the door, I have all of the lights in the classroom about and on the wall I am projecting a YouTube Video of fire. The students walk in and instantly know something different is going on today.

I start by having the students close their eyes and imagine that they are back in time. I tell them the story about them playing in a pasture that is surrounded by woods. They are playing with their dog, throwing the ball playing fetch. Then I tell them that this is how Lascaux cave was discovered. Although there are many accounts with varying details about this, I would suggest googling "How was Lascaux Cave Discovered", read through some of the accounts and you'll get a general feel for what happened.

Once you have told the story under the light of the fire talk to the students to open their eyes (while you are telling the story start opening this website: It is a digital recreation of the cave. They should open their eyes just as the cave is starting to show. There are tons of ooh and ahhs at this point.

With your students start a discussion about what is on the walls. What is important to the cave artist. Also talk about the scale of the paintings etc.

Now you can have your students create their own cave art. You can do this in many ways. We often crumple up brown paper and have students go outside to find "paint brushes" that they will use to create their painting. They then use natural colored tempera paints.

There are also other cool ways to develop this project even more. You could try painting on actual rocks (if you live in an area that has flat rocks this might be an great idea.), create your own paint using egg and dirt sediment.


tinggay said...

Some schools in our country do not have electricity nor do they have computers. Using real fire would be dangerous of course. Can you suggest something else that I can use in place of the digital fire to bring out the mood for the Pre-historic Period?

Beth said...

Have the students tape their paper to the undersides of their desk, and lay on the floor.