1st Grade Cave Explorations

Speaking of imaginary trips, 1st graders traveled back in time to when cave paintings were first created.  We started with this prezi and had a wonderful discussion about the purpose of cave paintings based on the evidence in the photographs we looked at.  We concluded that cave art was old (discussed dates) and depicted hunting, people and mostly animals.

Then the fun began.

We took craft paper, chalk and climbed our ways under the table.  I showed them how to trace their hand and then fill in the space around their hand by smearing the color all around.  I flipped the lights and played a nature sound mix from Amazon Prime.  This made an incredible mess on the chair. It was glorious.  And it’s super fun demoing the use of chalk under a table, let me tell you.  But the kids found it hysterical and left each day thrilled with their adventures.

The next time they came to class, we examined textures through photographs using visual thinking strategies.  From there, we talked about the texture of caves, and even though we couldn’t go to one, based on pictures what we thought caves felt like.  It was decided that they are hard, rough, cracked, bumpy, dry and sometimes scratchy.  Occasionally, they can be smooth.

Using white model magic, we flattened the clay onto a half sheet of paper and spread it as thin as we could.  After it dried and cracked (it will), we painted it with beige, brown and white to make it look like the caves we examined.  Finally, we looked through some cave paintings and students picked 2-3 images as inspiration for their own cave drawing.  Students used chalk to draw the images and this was great because drawing on dried model magic is tough to draw on and kids expressed this fascination and frustration by becoming determined to make their artwork look like they intended.  They also blended the colors in by smearing, like a cave painter might do.

Check out the results.  I was so impressed and pleased by them and it was such a unique way to approach the lesson.


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