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Use recycled paper bags to simulate leather or bark to create a Native American parfleche for use as an art portfolio.
Organize students into small groups and gather a variety of text and electronic resources for students to engage with focused on the Native Americans. Invite students to research how Native Americans used natural resources to create items for their everyday use, such as cooking utensils, clothing, and storage containers.
When research is complete, invite students to make a portfolio for their art or writings. In keeping with the Native American culture, students can design a parfleche that looks similar to the bark or leather used by Native Americans.
Students begin by covering their work area with recycled newspaper. Carefully separate four large brown paper grocery bags where they are glued together. Measure and cut out four rectangles approximately 27 by 18 inches (69 by 46 cm) with Crayola® Scissors. Round the rectangle corners.
Soak or spray the four sheets of paper with water. Gently crumple to squeeze out excess water. Use a paint brush or sponge to spread Crayola School Glue on each damp sheet. Layer one on top of the other, with print facing inward. Place heavy objects on top to flatten the bags. Dry.
Fold the top of the layered bags down about 5 1/2 inches (14 cm). Fold the bottom up until it almost touches the top flap. Fold each side into the center to form two flaps. Place heavy objects on the parfleche to hold its shape.
Students decorate the outside of their parfleche with Crayola Crayons, using a colorful, authentic Native American design.
Punch holes on the top and bottom of each flap. Thread strings or ribbons through the holes to close the parfleche.
Ask student groups to brainstorm ways in which the Native American would have used their parfleches. Then students generate a list of ways in which these portfolio containers today.
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