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Middle [6th-8th] Unit Plan

Native American Animal Spirit Prints

Created on October 23, 2012 by MrsImpey

Students will learn about the Native American culture in this unit. Each student will choose an animal spirit that represents him or herself and create a linocut print. Students will also write a short poem or essay expalinging why that animal represents themselves.

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6 sessions; 40 minutes per session

1. SWBAT explain what a spirit animal is in Native American culture.

2. SWBAT discuss how their artwork connects to Native American art.

3. SWBAT explain how their spirit animal symbolizes themsleves.

4. SWBAT safely create a linocut print.

1. 4"x6" linoleum block
2. Carving tools
3. Brayer
4. Ink
5. Bench hook
6. Printing paper (try tissue paper, construction paper, etc.)
7. Pencils
8. Sketch paper
7. Line paper

Need these materials? Visit Blick!

1. Look at various examples of Native American artwork and discuss what a spirit animal is. Look through a list of spirit animals and what they mean.

2. Ask students to choose an animal that could represent their spirit animal. Show students an example of a line drawing that they must create on a 4"x6" piece of sketch paper to create a linoprint with. Show some examples of linoprints and discuss the use of line to create texture and discuss what makes a balanced print.

3. Transfer sketchs to the block and carve out design.

4. Give students one day to make a series of 4-5 prints using different colors and papers.

5. Have students write a short poem or essay that connects their spirit animal to themselves. Mount the writing piece and the student's best print onto black paper.

This can be assessed using a rubric, the student's writing piece, or by a group critique.

1. (This link is where I got much of the information for my power point that I use.)

This project can be as in depth or as simple as you'd like it to be. I have used it with 6th grade and in a Studio Art class. I love this lesson because I can teach student's about a different culture while teaching them a new art medium. It's very easy to connect the basic elements and principles to this.


Visual Arts Standard 1:
Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

[5-8] Students intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas

Visual Arts Standard 2:
Using knowledge of structures and functions

[5-8] Students generalize about the effects of visual structures and functions and reflect upon these effects in their own work

Visual Arts Standard 3:
Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas

[5-8] Students use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks

Visual Arts Standard 4:
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures

[5-8] Students know and compare the characteristics of artworks in various eras and cultures

Visual Arts Standard 5:
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

[5-8] Students describe and compare a variety of individual responses to their own artworks and to artworks from various eras and cultures

Indigenous American Art

Balance, Line, Texture


English/Language Arts, Multicultural Studies