Students create a clay pinch pot. The circular, clay pot represents the students' understanding of one of the 7 Grandfather teachings through carving and relief sculpture.

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  • Crayola Air-Dry Clay - White
  • Crayola Fine Line Markers - 12 Count
  • Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12")
  • Crayola Acrylic Paint - 6 Count
  • Crayola Paintbrushes - 5 count
  • Pencils
  • Paper Towels
  • Water Containers
  • Clay Carving Tools (only if available)


Step 1
  1. Choose one of the 7 Grandfather teachings.
  2. Brainstorm words and images that you identify with the Grandfather teaching you have chosen.
    - Close your eyes and remember the ancient petroglyphs that were introduced earlier, and are located throughout the world.
    - Think about the animals that represent each of the teachings, remembering that the First Nations peoples living in different geographical locations, may have different animals that symbolize each teaching.
Step 2
  1. Roll a round ball of clay in your hand.
  2. Make sure you do not have too much clay, just enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
  3. Press your thumb into the centre of the clay ball.
  4. Squeeze the clay between your thumb (inside the clay ball) and your fingers (outside the clay ball) until the wall of the clay pot feels about 1cm thick.
Step 3
  1. Move the clay in a circular pattern as you slowly begin squeezing the clay from the bottom of your pot to the rim of your pot.
  2. Try to create a uniform thickness along the walls of the pot (1cm).
Step 4
  1. Take your time and move slowly to create an even thickness.
  2. Remember to carve your initials into the base of your pinch pot.
Step 5
  1. Use a small piece of clay to create the animal that represents the Grandfather teaching you have chosen.
  2. Flatten the clay in your hands so it is about 0.5cm thick.
  3. Carve the animal from the clay using a pencil.
  4. Score (draw lines into the clay with a pencil) the back of the animal and the clay you are attaching the animal to.
  5. Paint each scored surface with slip (mixture of clay and water in the consistency of a heavy cream), and press together.
  6. Use the pencil to clarify and define the edges of the animal (relief sculpture).
Step 6
  1. Carve the Grandfather teaching you have chosen into the outside wall of the pinch pot.
  2. Add other words that have a similar meaning.
  3. Separate each word by carving an image that helps you understand the Grandfather teaching you have chosen.
  4. The carved words and images create texture.
  5. Let your clay pot dry before painting it (about 2 days).
Step 7
  1. Choose a colour of acrylic paint to brush into the carved words and images.
  2. Use a small paint brush.
  3. This painting technique will emphasize the texture on the walls of the pinch pot.
Step 8
  1. Dampen a small piece of paper towel with water, and use it to lightly rub the painted, textured surface.
Step 9
  1. Decide whether you want to add more colours to your pot with acrylic paint, or leave it in its natural form.
  2. The animal representing the Grandfather teaching is a relief sculpture.
  3. The words and images carved on the outside of the pot create a textured surface.
  • Subjects:

    • Language Arts,

    • Social Studies,

    • Visual Arts,

    • First Nations, Metis, Inuit

  • Grades:

    • Grade 3,

    • Grade 4,

    • Grade 5,

    • Grade 6,

    • Grade 7,

    • Grade 8

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