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Native American Vest Lesson Plan

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Native American Vest -Hang it, Don't Wear it!

November is a perfect time to learn more about the Native American culture, and one of the most fun ways is through art.  Here is a project that children can make from very inexpensive materials.

What you will need:

Small or Large Brown Paper Bag

Scissors (Safety scissors should be used by young children)

Marker or Pencil

Crayons or Markers

Native American Symbols

Optional:  Feathers and glue


Step 1-Lay the paper bag on a flat surface.  Draw a "collar" (a) around the top flap of the bag.  Raise the flap and draw (b) a straight line. Unfold the side of the paper bag and draw a circle at the center (c) and (d) where the lines intersect. Cut along the lines you have drawn (e) and (f) and you will see a vest shape.  Next (g) crumple the paper to make a "faux" or fake leather look.  Kids of all ages love this part.  Next unfold your vest and draw Native American symbols onto the vest.  See symbol sheet at the bottom of this page.  Use markers or crayons to create a story using the symbols.  Cut "fringe" at the bottom of the paper bag.  Optional:  Use feathers or beads to embellish. 

Cross Curriculum Application:

Along with learning art skills students can develop literary and story telling skills by completing this project.  Ask students to share the story that they have invented using the symbols.  For younger children counting skills can be reinforced through counting symbols they have used. Older children can learn measurement skills through the pattern making process.  The project can be used as part of a history or social studies unit to illustrate the lives and culture of Native American peoples.

(a) (b) (c)




In this example you can see that Buffalo Storytelling Cloths were also created by crumpling a piece of brown paper into an irregular shape.

Symbol Sheet


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