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This one deals with the Lakota-Sioux Sun Dance
Social Studies, Art
Title – Sun Dance Skull
By – Jennifer Dalke
Subject – Social Studies, Art
Grade Level – 4-5
The Sun Dance Skull
25.A.2d, 25.B.2, 26.A.2a, 26.B.2d, 27.B.2
* Students will understand the function of the Sun Dance as part of the Lakota-Sioux religion
* Students will understand why the buffalo skull was an important part of the Sun Dance
* Students will design and decorate their own buffalo skulls based on the things that they are thankful for
* Papier-mache paste (glue and water)
* Newspaper strips
* White paper plates (1 per student)
* Egg cartons (2 egg sections per student)
* Aluminum foil
* Colorful tempera points
* Small cups
* Masking tape
1. Since this activity will occur as part of a unit on the Native-Americans, students will go over what they have already discussed.
2. The Lakota-Sioux Sun Dance will be introduced and explained to the students.
3. Students will be shown a picture of a painted buffalo skull and they will learn what role the buffalo skull plays in the Sun Dance.
1. The teacher will pass out the appropriate materials for the project. Then the teacher will instruct the students on how to construct the project.
2. Students should cut two slits in the paper plate, and staple so that the plate bends in the middle.
3. Students should tape the egg carton sections on for the eye-sockets.
4. To make the horns, students should shape two pieces of foil and staple each horn to the back of the paper plate at the top.
5. Students should dip newspaper strips into the papier-mache paste, and cover the skull form, front, and back, with one layer of newspaper strips. Be sure that students don’t cover the tops of the egg cartons.
6. Skulls will need to dry overnight.
7. The next day, students will paint the skull with two coats of white paint and let dry.
8. Next, students will paint the skulls with pictures of the things for which they are thankful.
9. Finally, students will tie a piece of yarn to each horn, hanging a feather on each piece. A piece of yarn will also be tied to the top of the skull, and students will hang their skulls around the room.
The teacher will be the facilitator in this lesson. The teacher will need to direct the students as to the basic construction of the skull. The teacher will also prompt the students in order to help them decide what they’d like to paint on their skulls.
Creative Question Suggestions:
1. Why do you think the Lakota’s used certain colors on their skulls?
2. Why are you using the colors that you are on your skull?
3. The Indians painted symbols for what was important to them, what things are so important to you that you’d like to paint them on your skull?
* Some students may have trouble following the directions. Allow and encourage students to help one another.
* Students may have trouble thinking of things to paint on their skulls. Suggest broad topics, but only enough to get the students thinking.
1. Did students follow directions in class? Were they disruptive? Did they actively participate in the activity? Were they helpful to other students?
2. Did students produce some kind of buffalo skull? Did they decorate their skulls appropriately?
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