Australian Dot Art (4th)

To begin with I showed my students a PowerPoint to first show them where Australia is on a map, and then to give them a little background about Aboriginal Australian art - and more specifically their dot art style. We also watched this video clip.
We talked about how aboriginal Australian artwork contained a lot of symbolism and was often very stylized (like the images of animals). They also often used an 'x-ray style' when painting animals in their artwork.
I gave each of my tables a packet of animal silhouettes that I printed off from online (small enough that they couldn't even try to trace) and asked them to select an animal that they'd like to draw. Students then tried their best at drawing the animal silhouette (with no additional details) on a piece of brightly colored construction paper that they selected. Once the drawing was completed, they cut out the silhouette and glued it onto a sheet of 9" x 12" black construction paper. Then the dot fun began! :)
Each table got a palette of different colored tempera paints and a bunch of wooden scratch sticks.
Students dipped the scratch stick into the paint and then went to town dotting their papers (you can probably get a good 3 dots before you have to get more paint on the stick).
Some students really got into the project and committed themselves to working hard to finish it, while others got impatient with how long the dotting process was taking. I'd say it was a 60/40 split respectively.
I love this lesson though - and those students that understood that with commitment comes great reward.. were rewarded greatly with their beautiful results! :)


  1. You inspired my lesson!

  2. I wouldn't say that your Australian Aboriginal pieces are true examples of Australian Aboriginal art. They are too colourful - the colours are supposed to be the colours of the land - brown, orange, black, white, red etc. Not pink or purple! Also, an elephant and a moose are not native Australian animals. This needs to be explained to the students.

    1. Hi Sarah! Thanks for your feedback!
      I would agree... these student examples are not true examples of the Australian Aboriginal art.
      I teach my students about the authentic art.. then we create something inspired by it.
      I try to be culturally sensitive and not have my students recreate something so deeply spiritual for its original creators.
      Instead my students created something that is engaging and relevant for themselves using a similar style.

  3. I remember doing this project when I was in 6th grade and it is the only art project that I ever wanted to keep. (I still have it to this day!) Now, I am an English teacher in South Korea and I can't wait to do this project with my students. We just finished learning about different countries, one of them being Australia. I teach club classes after school and I really hope they enjoy this project as much as I did when I was their age. Thank you so much for your post!