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Native Pottery Replicas

Discover the beauty and functionality of ancient Native American pottery! These replicas are a wonderful way to learn more about a culture.

  • Grade 6
    Grades 7 and 8
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Pottery in any culture is an age-old practice that was originally practical and eventually became seen as an art form. Ancient Native American pieces are beautifully decorated ceramics that are not only functional but a pleasure to look at as well. Small groups of students research the history of this art form in Northern America using text and electronic resources approved by the instructor.
    2. When research is complete, student groups present their learning to classmates. When all presentations are complete, ask students to choose a style of pottery from one Native nation to replicate.
    3. Based on the style of the pot, students choose an armature such as a recycled container or crumpled aluminum foil. Cover this basic form with a thin Crayola® Model Magic® layer.
    4. Add embellishments to the pot by creating ropes, leather cords, feathers, and beads, as appropriate to the culture and time period, and affixing them to the pot. For even edges, cut the compound with Crayola Scissors.
    5. One way to make beads is to cut a long piece of fishing line. Make small Model Magic balls and wrap them around the fishing line about half-way down the length. Leave enough fishing line uncovered so it can be used it to wrap around the lip of the pot later. Challenge students to experiment with making different shapes of beads and alternating colors to create unique patterns.
    6. At the end of a string of beads on Native pottery, there are often large decorative feathers. Roll out Model Magic compound into feathers. Combine different colors for multi-color feathers. Then take a craft stick or other modeling tool to etch in the feather’s vein and the edges. Press the feather on the fishing line at the end of the beads. Cut off any fishing line that sticks out on the bottom. Wrap the extra fishing line around the lip of the pot and tie a knot.
    7. Fishing line can be hidden by covering the lip with cords or other decorative elements. Beautiful rope can adorn the pot by braiding three long pieces of Model Magic compound and then wrapping the braid around the lip. Model Magic® dries to the touch overnight and dries completely in 2 to 3 days.
    8. While Model Magic is drying, students compose a summary paragraph reflecting upon their learning on Native American pottery and references how they incorporated this learning into their original pottery.
  • Standards

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

    VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Lucy M. Lewis: American Indian Potter by Susan Peterson; Pottery by American Indian Women: The Legacy of Generations by Susan Peterson; Beauty From the Earth: Pueblo Indian Pottery from the University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology by J. J. Brody; Southwestern Pottery: Anasazi to Zuni by Allan Hayes

    Organize a field trip to a Native American Museum to learn more about ancient tribes and cultures. Prior to the trip, students create a list of questions to ask guides and points to investigate while visiting the museum. Upon returning to school, students post learning to a class blog.

    Encourage students to read about other Native American customs. This investigation can also take on and interview format if an expert is available.

    Students research various indigenous nations in South, Central, and North America. Students note similarities and differences between cultures. Organize research into an electronic format for presentation to classmates.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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