Cycle 2 Week 4- Abstract Native American Salmon

For week four, the lesson combines Native American art (timeline card “Early Native Americans”) and abstract art.  First, let’s define abstract.  It is a category of art that represents imagery in a simplistic or distorted manner.  Under this category is non-objective art, which takes out the recognizable image completely, and we are left with just lines, color, etc.  The Foundations Guide art idea for week 4 is non-objective, but using abstracted imagery can also effectively teach students to design well using lines, shapes, and color.

Just like the lesson from the Foundations Guide, this lesson encourages students to use the elements to create interesting and pleasing design.  Students must also think about space, balance, and repetition as they draw.  The fish in the project is a simplified shape, and the motifs inside are focused on design, not realism.  Let’s get started on the abstracted Northwest Native American Salmon!


White paper


Black markers

Primary colored markers

Print-outs from lesson plan

Whiteboard or other surface for tutor to draw on

In order for students to understand Native American art from the Northwest coast, you will start by showing them images.  The Burke Museum has a wonderful collection of art and artifacts.  Because of copyright laws, I have not created a downloadable document of images for you to print.  However, you can print your own from their website or create a Powerpoint presentation, as they allow their images to be used in a classroom setting.  Here is a link to their collection:

Specifically look at


Below you will find lesson plans for age groups 4-6, 7-9, and 10-11.

Abstract Native American Salmon Age 4-6

Click for the Abstract Salmon Age 4-6 lesson plan


Abstract Native American Salmon Age 7-9

Click for the Abstract Salmon Age 7-9 lesson plan


Abstract Native American Salmon Age 10-11

Click for the Abstract Salmon Age 10-11 lesson plan


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