Native American Tribes - Petroglyph Creation

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SWBAT Write about a message that would be important to share with other tribes through petroglyphs.

Big Idea

We are creating a 3D petroglyph project. Students will decide what is important to share with other tribes by creating their own petroglyphs.


Your Tribe Just Might Not Make It

5 minutes

My students as "tribes" have experienced a disaster and have written plans to survive these disasters.  They have written from the perspective of a real Native American tribe member from the past experiencing that disaster.  Hopefully that experience of writing from the perspective of a tribe member helped them understand life as a tribe member at a deeper level.  Many of the tribes experience these kinds of disasters in our area.  Often tribes were able to overcome the trials put before them, but sometimes the tribes did not survive the disasters.  

In this lesson, I want the students to experience what it might have been like to face a disaster that the likely would not survive.  I have the unfortunate position of being the bearer of bad news.  I will deliver the news that the all tribes will likely not survive this mock disaster. They need to prepare for the worst.

This will also give the students the opportunity to think about what would be most important if a tribe was to not survive. 

What Message Will you Leave Behind?

20 minutes

Knowing that your tribe will likely not survive this disaster, think of a message you would like to leave behind for other tribes who may move into the area. Perhaps a message for any surviving members of you tribe.  What important message would you leave behind? 

I will have the students brainstorm ideas on what would be important for others to know.  

I will give the student time to think and create their messages.  The message does not need to be lengthy but should be important.  I will try my best to discourage comedy.  We do have quite a few comedians.  I will let them know that as much as I appreciate a good laugh, we are looking for serious responses for this task.

What Symbols Will Represent Your Message?

15 minutes

Once the students have decided the important message they would like to leave behind, they need to create symbols to represent the message.  The other tribes who pass through the area will likely not speak your language.  What pictures or symbols could you use to easily convey your message to someone passing through the area.

I will let the students know that it is ok to confer with their tribe members on symbols if they get stuck and need some ideas on effective symbols.  They can also use the pictures of petroglyphs we have used previously in the unit.  There are several pictures in their Native American Tribes of Utah books we have been working on.  

Petroglyph Creation

30 minutes

The students have already created the stone panel for their petroglyph message.  We collected empty milk jugs for a month or so.  We needed 4 jugs for each student for this project.  To create a panel, see the instructions in the resources.  

I also tie in recycling with this project and talk about when the Native Americans killed an animal, they used the ENTIRE animal.  They used the skin, the fur, the meat, the bones, everything.  We should learn from the Native Americans and not be as wasteful as we are.  

If you don't want to go to all the trouble of saving milk jugs for a month or so, these panels of petroglyphs could easily be created on paper.  I just love the three dimensional creations that the kids can treasure!

The students will use a dark brown paint or marker to create the symbols on the petroglyph panels. I will definitely need to explain to the students that our method in creating these symbols would be considered "pictographs" but we are creating them to resemble "petroglyphs" that is why we are calling them petroglyphs.  If we were adding some color, we would call them pictographs.  :)