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Decorative Dream Dots

Paint with dots—yes, just dots—to design a decorative plate. Australian Aboriginal painters use the same technique in their art.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Students research and find out more about the dot paintings of Australia’s Aboriginal people. This art form, which has its roots in the ancient "Dream Time" journeys, is still used today. Most dot paintings contain patterns of natural forms such as animals. Students use this technique to decorate a plate that makes a wonderful gift!
    2. Students trace around a clear glass plate with Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils on construction paper. Inside the outline, sketch one or more Australian creatures (koala or kangaroo, perhaps). Create a simple pattern for the plate by repeating the drawing, for example, or use it for a border.
    3. Lay the drawing on recycled newspaper. Place the plate over the drawing, face down, and paint ONLY the underside of the plate.
    4. Students use cotton swabs to apply dots of Crayola Portfolio Acrylic Paint on the glass. Use the pattern as a guide. Keep the dots smooth and round by changing cotton swabs often.
    5. Experiment with other colors and patterns to fill the areas around the animal forms. Fill the entire underside of the plate with dots of color.
    6. Air-dry the plate overnight before lifting it off the recycled newspaper.
  • Standards

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

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

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

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

  • Adaptations

    Website link for Aboriginal stories, entitled "A Children's Book of Aboriginal Stories" by S. Pridmore is located at A variety of stories are presented in PDF format for viewing and printing.

    Encourage students to create an Aboriginal-style dot painting on fabric, such as a t-shirt, to wear as part of a presentation of learning about the Aboriginal culture.

    Invite a native of Australia or someone who has traveled there extensively to speak with the class about the travel experience. Prior to the visit, have students compose interview questions for the guest. After the visit, students post their learning to a class blog.

    Students take on the role of a travel agent and research the geography and contemporary culture in Australia. Use the research to plan a week long family vacation. Prepare your organized research into an electronic presentation to use in "selling" your proposed trip to your classmates.

    Students use Crayola Window Markers to create Aboriginal dream dot designs on classroom windows. A small groups of students work on each window pane. A cooperative short story should accompany each window design.


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