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Cave Clues

Explore the mysteries of caves as you create original crayon resist cave scenes.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. A cave is an underground space with little or no light and constant moisture. Ask students what other environmental characteristics they can find about caves. What traits would be important or unnecessary for animals that live in caves? How about eyesight or bright skin color? What do caves provide for animals or people? What else besides safety, shelter, protection from weather, and privacy?
    2. The first record of art is found in a cave in Lascaux, France, in the Verzere Valley. This art was drawn 35,000 years ago. Early cave art, mostly animal drawings, is also found in Australia, Africa, and Spain.
    3. Students design their own cave art. Ask them to think about what they might find inside. Which animals or people live there? What are the colors, textures, and shapes found in your cave? Using Crayola® Construction Paperâ„¢ Crayons on a large sheet of paper, make your cave come alive with seen and unseen life. Think about animals, water, rock walls, or cave-dwelling people. Draw clues about cave life, such as the soft bed on which a bear would sleep during hibernation.
    4. Cover the work area with recycled newspaper. Paint the cave art with Crayola Washable Paint. Blend colors to look like damp, rocky surfaces inside caves. Air-Dry. The crayon cave art will pop off the walls!
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

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

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

    SS: Compare ways in which people from different cultures think about and deal with their physical environment and social conditions.

    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: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

  • Adaptations

    Organize a field trip for students to visit a cave. Prior to the visit, have students post to a class blog what they anticipate encountering on their trip. Students will re-post to the blog after the visit, adding any new learning to the post and documenting any misconceptions they may have expected but did not experience.

    Early cave artists made colors for their paintings by mixing manganese (a grayish-white metal), ocher, and charcoal with animal fat. This mixture was applied to the cave walls with sticks, reeds and, sometimes, brushes. Another technique used was the human hand as a stencil with ground-up pigment blown up around the print. Encourage students to try some of these techniques and comment on the ease or difficulty of using the ancient techniques.

    In Australia, the direct descendants of that country's prehistoric artists care for cave paintings today. These people have lived continuously in this area for over 40,000 years! What other groups care for their ancestors' arts and traditions today? Investigate these people and organize an audio-taped presentation of your findings. Upload the audiotape to a classroom computer.

    The unique environment of caves helped to preserve artwork for thousands of years. Lime from dripping water fossilized paintings, turning the art into stone. Students research what lime is and how it causes the preserving of cave artwork. Students also investigate how paintings are reserved today.


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