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Mexican Pottery

Study Mexican pottery and its importance to Mexican culture. Create a basket-weave pot with Crayola® Model Magic.

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

    1. During an investigation into the history of Mexico, invite students to look at samples and pictures of ancient and contemporary Mexican pottery. Ask them to describe the designs and shapes. What modeling techniques do you think were used to construct the pottery? How might these pots have been used?
    2. To re-create Mexican pottery, students roll two colors of Crayola Model Magic into two long ropes about 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) pieces. Use a ruler and craft stick to measure and cut each rope into half-inch pieces.
    3. Students alternate yellow and red pieces in a row. Mold them together in one rope with damp fingers.
    4. Carefully coil the rope into a circle about 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. Continue to coil upwards three times around, getting narrower each time, to form a base. Use fingers to pinch and smooth seams inside the base.
    5. Continue to coil above the base in a wider and wider circumferences, pinching and smoothing seams, until all the Model Magic rope is used.
    6. Flatten red Model Magic into a thin sheet. Carefully smooth the sheet inside the coiled tureen. Dry 24 hours.
    7. While pottery is drying, ask students to write a summary paragraph describing how pottery was used by ancient Mexican people. Display student replicas and writing in a school hallway for peers to view.
  • Standards

    LA: Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.

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

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

    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: 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: Give examples of and explain group and institutional influences such as religious beliefs, laws, and peer pressure, on people, events, and elements of 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: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

    VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: The Pot That Juan Built by Nancy Andrews-Goebel; Children of Clay: A Family of Pueblo Potters by Rena Swentzel

    Students create a second, original piece of pottery attempting new techniques with Crayola Model Magic. Use simple tools like rolling pins, combs, and pencils to shape pottery forms.

    Students research other pottery-making methods used elsewhere, both historically and today. Compare and contrast the methods.


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  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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