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Rock Art Caves

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Subject: Social Studies and Art

Grade: 4th

Author: Michael Whalen, updated by Emily McCuistion (2024)

Time Duration: One 50-minute class period

Overview: Students use the Internet to learn about rock art and work together in small groups to create caves for other students to explore in the classroom.


Social Studies, Grade 4

  • 1(B), identify and compare the ways of life of American Indian groups in Texas before European exploration such as the Lipan Apache, Karankawa, Caddo, and Jumano;
  • 19(A), differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as technology; interviews; biographies; oral, print, and visual material; documents; and artifacts to acquire information about Texas;
  • 19(B), analyze information by applying absolute and relative chronology through sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions;
  • 19(C), organize and interpret information in outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps; and
  • 19(D), identify different points of view about an issue, topic, historical event, or current event.

Art, Grade 4

  • 2(A), integrate ideas drawn from life experiences to create original works of art;
  • 2(B), create compositions using the elements of art and principles of design; and
  • 2(C), produce drawings; paintings; prints; sculpture, including modeled forms; and other art forms such as ceramics, fiber art, constructions, mixed media, installation art, digital art and media, and photographic imagery using a variety of art media and materials.
  • 3(A), compare content in artworks for various purposes such as the role art plays in reflecting life, expressing emotions, telling stories, or documenting history and traditions;
  • 3(B), compare purpose and content in artworks created by historical and contemporary men and women, making connections to various cultures;


  • Computers with Internet access
  • Examples of rock art from Texas and the world (included)
  • Brown paper
  • Colored markers or paint

Activities and Procedures:

Step 1: Teacher shows images of rock art from various sites in Texas and around the world (included).

Step 2: Students seek out further examples of rock art on the Internet. Texas Beyond History has several rock art pages:

These websites will provide a wide variety of rock art examples that will show a diversity of people, culture, geography, content, time, and specific medium. Students can easily find a dozen more through related searches.

Step 3: Students copy one or more rock art drawings from the Internet. Divide students into small groups and give each group several large sheets of brown paper and colored markers. The groups cover the "cave walls" with rock art designs.

Step 4: Tape the sheets of paper over desks or attach to the wall or bookcase to make a "cave" for each group. Rock art designs should be inside the cave.

Step 5: Groups explore the different caves and try to learn something of the culture portrayed by the rock art.

Closure: Groups make inferences about the culture of another group’s "cave" to the class, based on their interpretations of the drawings. Lead a discussion about how ancient rock art differs from current day graffiti.

Modification: Have specific rock art URLs chosen and saved as "favorites" ahead of time for student use.

Extension Activities: Have students explore the interactive, "Mysteries of the Texas Desert: The Lost People of Hueco Tanks" at

Assessment: Paper cave drawings and discussion