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Aboriginal Faces

Face painting is an ancient tradition! Explore the creative designs used by Australia's native peoples, who have painted their faces for centuries.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Have students research information about the Aboriginal people of Australia. Find out about their society, culture, and beliefs. Find photographs of Aboriginal people of various ages. Notice their facial structures, hair textures, and skin coloring. Why do these ancient people paint their faces? What designs do they use? What do they symbolize? Find out about the issues facing these native peoples today, and how they are adapting to today's culture.
    2. Students sketch and color a portrait of an Aboriginal person using Crayola® Multicultural Markers. Refer to photographs for details.
    3. With Crayola Crayons, decorate the face with authentic symbols of Aboriginal culture. Make sure the symbols are appropriate for the age, gender, and status of the person you drew.
  • Standards

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Summarize a written text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to task and situation.

    MATH: Compose two-dimensional shapes or three-dimensional shapes.

    SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.

    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: Describe how people create places that reflect ideas, personality, culture, and wants and needs as they design homes, playgrounds, classrooms, and the like.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

    VA: Know that the visual arts have both a history and specific relationship to various cultures.

    VA: Identify connections between the visual arts and other disciplines in the curriculum.

  • Adaptations

    Students write a one-paragraph summary describing how and why they incorporated specific symbols on their Aboriginal faces. Students can then scan their artwork onto a classroom computer file and audio record their summaries. These can be housed separately in an online student portfolio and/or in a class file with everyone's artwork and descriptive summary.


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