Our 4th/5th graders feel they are too cool for story books (rolls eyes) so we will skip First Dog and go right to a power point of the cave paintings. I'll set up the lesson by talking about crawling through the caves with your torch hoping you don' t run into a sleeping saber tooth tiger or bear who wants a easy meal. I'll share the info below which comes from this website:From http://earlyhumans.mrdonn.org/caveart.html
COLOR: Early man used natural colors. You may have heard that they used charcoal to create these paintings. Actually, most art was not made with charcoal, but rather with mineral pigments, such as iron oxide (red ochre) or black manganese. They drew stick figures for people, but the animals were well drawn, and usually filled in with natural colors, to give them even more shape and substance.
DANGER: When you think cave, you might think of a big place, with high ceilings. Not so. In order to reach the places where cave paintings have been found, Cro-Magnon man had to crawl on his belly, through mazes of narrow, dark tunnels, by the light of a flicking torch or a spoon-like oil lamp (which had to be hand carried and balanced carefully to hold the burning oil in the rounded part of the spoon - while crawling along on your belly), and carrying the paints he had carefully prepared, with no idea if he might run into, oh .. a cave lion or a bear, on the way. Certainly he wasn't decorating his home, as these marvelous paintings were hidden deep within the darkest portions of the cave.
4th and 5th graders will also do two projects. A paper cave painting and a painting on "stone".
Paper cave painting: Start class with guided drawings of several cave animals. For older students I prefer to have a guided drawing worksheet for them to work on at their own speed. This allows me to give the students more examples to choose from. I try to have five objects/animals to draw and ask the students to try three. Students that finish early do the extra two.
After practice drawing we are right back to the brown paper bag that has been crumpled up. I LOVE to have the older kids get under the table to do these paintings. If the table is too tall or you are worried about paint dripping on the kids then just put the table on it's side so it is like a wall. Tape the paper bag to the table. Start by having students paint the outline of the animal they chose and any extra details like weapons or people. Use black and dark red/brown tempera paint.
After student's have painted the outline of their animals they will add shading and extra detail with paint and/or oil pastel. Emphasize to the students to leave some "rock" showing on the inside of the animal.
Project 2: Painting on Rock
We are going to "make" our rock using equal parts plaster, vermiculite and water.
*Mix this up in a plastic bucket till it has a thick cookie dough texture.
*Push all the tables and chairs away and have the kids sit in a almost circle around you.
*Give each child a plastic place mat (I get these from dollar tree) to put in front of them.
*Have each student come get a hand full of this "rock" slop. Take it back to their place mat and have them plop it down from about four inches above. This will make an interesting rock shape and texture. This mix will set up pretty fast. We are working with Fresco painting today.
*Have the kids use sticks to draw the outline of their animal or person into the "stone" and then start painting it while it is still wet and drying. The color will soak in. Worse comes to worse you can just make the stone and carve the design on the first day and then paint the stone the next day.
Make sure to let the "stone" dry for a week or so before giving it back to the students. It will take about four months for it to dry out all the way. At that point it will be surprisingly lightweight and sturdy.
NEVER put plaster in the sink and down the drain. Wait for it to dry out a bid and scrape it into a trash. Also have your students rinse their hands into a wash bucket not the sink:)
Next time: Middle school cave project lessons