Buffalo Hide Painting Lesson Plan

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

In this lesson plan, students will learn about buffalo hide paintings. After discussing and analyzing an informational text, students will create their own buffalo hide paintings using modern materials.

Lesson Objectives

  • Analyze an informational text about buffalo hide by asking and answering questions in a collaborative discussion
  • Create an individual buffalo hide art piece
  • Determine the meaning of a buffalo hide art piece by examining its elements and details

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.


Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.


  • 60-90 minutes


Lesson Instructions

  • Ask students to turn and talk about what their favorite piece of artwork is and why. Ask students to share responses.
  • Explain that today's lesson will be about a specific culture's artwork - Native American buffalo hide art. Review the lesson objectives with students.
  • Distribute copies of Native American Buffalo Hide Art: Symbols and Meaning to the students.
  • Students will read the 'Who Made Buffalo Hides?' independently. Ask:
    • Why do Native Americans use buffalo hide as a canvas for their art?
    • If Native Americans did not have access to buffalo hides, what do you think they could use?
  • Students will read the remainder of the text independently. Ask:
    • What are pictograms?
    • What are some of the symbols that you learned about in this section?
    • What are winter count robes?
    • What are box and border figures?
    • If you could create a buffalo hide art piece, what would it look like?
  • Distribute the quiz.
  • Students will take quiz independently to demonstrate mastery.
  • Review the answers as a class.

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