Fourth-Graders Recreate Native American Fish Prints


F.E. Bellows Elementary School fourth-graders, who have been studying about Native Americans and their culture, created mixed media artworks in Dara Goodman’s art classes to further deepen their understanding and knowledge of the topic.

“I always look for interdisciplinary lessons and found that connecting what they are learning in their classroom into what they are doing in the art room fosters a full-rounded and deep understanding of the culture and subject matter being discussed,” Goodman said. 

Throughout the lessons, the students learned more about the Native American way of life, stylistic choices and use of symbolism in their artwork before creating their own versions of Native American fish prints. Using templates for various fish shapes, each fourth-grader created two fish designs that incorporated stylistic lines, patterns and symbols found within Native American artwork. Then, they used scissors to cut out each design and strategically place it on a piece of paper to create the illusion of four fish swimming in and out of the paper. In addition, the students used paint and painting techniques to create a rippled watery background and a sense of movement in their artworks.  

“At the end of the lessons, each student has a mixed media artwork showcasing Native American fish swimming,” Goodman said. “By tying in a visual art project to this co-curricular learning, the memory and understanding of the people and their culture becomes that much more important and interesting to our young learners.”