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1st Grade - Act. 10: Rock Art

Main Core Tie

English Language Arts Grade 1
Reading: Literature Standard 7


Utah LessonPlans
Grace Wayman


Students will create and share their own rock art. Part of this lesson is done as a shared reading experience.



  • Mathematics from Many Cultures by Calvin Irons, James Burnett and Stanley Wong Hoo Foon (Mimosa Publications)
  • The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomie dePaola
  • chalk
  • sandpaper (one piece for each child or small group)
  • hair spray
  • symbolization worksheet

Background for Teachers

This lesson focuses on Navajo and Hawaiian rock art. The art is the main focus of the lesson, so you will want to teach other lessons that focus on the cultures and traditions of Native Americans or Hawaiians. Part of this lesson should be done as a shared reading experience.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Intended Learning Outcomes
6. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written and nonverbal form.

Process Skills

Instructional Procedures

Invitation to Learn
Read The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomie dePaola. As you are reading this to the children, pay special attention to the paintings in the book. Have children help you interpret them or tell the story about them.

Instructional Procedures:

  1. Using the big book Mathematics from Many Cultures, page 6 and 7 discuss the petroglyph, Ganaskidi, and kaha ki’i. Draw special attention to the shapes used. Notice that circles and triangles are the most dominant shapes used.
  2. Pass out sandpaper to each small group or individual child.
  3. Have students create their own rock art using the chalk and sandpaper. Students should use their drawings to tell a story or event. Have them focus on using shapes in their drawings, particularly circles and triangles.
  4. Set the chalk on the sandpaper by spraying it lightly with hair spray.
  5. Have students make a key using the symbolization worksheet.
  6. Have students share their drawings and keys with the class or a friend.


Possible Extensions/ Adaptations
Instead of using sandpaper and chalk, another idea is to use plaster of paris and drop lumps onto wax paper to dry. When it is dry, have students paint the entire surface using red or brown tempera paint. When the paint is dry, students can use a paper clip to scratch their art into the “rock.” The paint will scratch away, leaving the design of their artwork white.

Also, students could write the story of a picture they have drawn on paper, or could research Native American symbols and use those in telling another story. Additionally, students could create a graph representing the shapes or colors they used.

Family Connections
Students could create a story about their family using drawings.

Assessment Plan

Students can be assessed throughout the process of this activity. Their pictures should correlate with what they are trying to portray. Their key should also correspond accurately with their drawings.

Created: 08/08/2003
Updated: 02/05/2018