Elizabeth Reoch

Visual art lessons from a Canadian Artist, Teacher

Aboriginal Art Lesson Plan – Dot Art


Aboriginal Art Lesson Plan – Dot Art

Aboriginal Art Lesson Plan - Dot Art

Aboriginal Art Lesson Plan – Dot Art is inspired by the indigenous peoples of Australia. Dot Art is a form of art usually done in acrylic paint to represent native tales of creation. The colors used are yellow, brown, red and white. These colors represent the sun, soil, red desert and the white clouds. The stories and images represented in the Dot Art style were made in a way to retain the secrets within the legends. Symbols were used to represent individual clan mysteries.

This Aboriginal Art Lesson Plan adapts the traditional and iconic aboriginal Dot Art to teach modern young students to appreciate another culture, while learning about symbolism and abstract design.

Art Lesson Plan Materials

Thick Paper – Pencils

Acrylic Paint



Aboriginal symbol Guide

Dot Art Lesson Inspiration

Read together an aboriginal myth such as the “Giant Kangaroos” or “Why the Crow is Black” and look at the Aboriginal Art that depicts the myths. Discuss the colors and the symbols that represent elements of the stories using the symbol guide handout sheet.

aboriginal art lesson plan - kangaroo

aboriginal symbols The students are not expected to represent the symbols used by the Australian Aboriginal people in their art but to appreciate how they are used and the power of their communication. In this Art Lesson Plan the students are asked to personalize the style of the Aboriginal people. To represent themselves and their ideas with their own symbols and perhaps their own myths as a language arts assignment.

Aboriginal Art Lesson Application

Students are to choose an animal that represents themselves. Their animal can be chosen from a list of native spirit animals or from their own imaginations. A fun way for student to get inspired is to have them take an online test to find their spirit animal. This will help to vary the types of animals the student represent as a class.
The students draw a picture of their spirit animal in the center of their paper.

drawing of deer

Draw one or two simple symbols that represent their animal, drawing outward from the center.



Repeat the symbols in an echoing pattern.

Aboriginal art lesson plan- dot art

Using a paint brush, paint the design and the spirit animal using two warm complementary colors such as red and yellow, orange and yellow or brown and red. Alternating the colors in a pattern.

Aboriginal art under- painting for dot art

Using Q-Tips, students paint dots alone the lines of their design and their spirit animal. They can use white, black, brown, red, yellow or orange paint colors. They should chose two colors that they have not used in their under painting.

Dot Art Lesson

This Dot Art painting of a Deer represents an artistic deep thinking personality. The triangular symbols represent the grass and natural habitat of the deer. The circular shapes symbolize the sun and the moon and the deer’s connection with nature.

Presentation and Grade

Students should present their finished painting to the class in a round table discussion group. They should be able to explain why they choose their animal and what their symbols represent.

A successful painting should have a pattern that uses the whole composition with lines going off the edge of the page, an explanation of their symbols, the appropriate use of warm earth colors and Dot Art techniques. A painting that goes above and beyond expectations would be a painting that has directional lines and symmetry.


This Aboriginal Dot Art Lesson Plan can be expanded into a language art project where students use a narrative plan to write and present their own spirit animal legend.


  1. Thanks Elizabeth for introducing your students to our amazing Indigenous culture. A really good and simple lesson plan to get your kids excited and creative. Many Thanks, JJ 🙂

  2. Is there another more meaningful way of teaching about place and country that is authentic and seeks the advice of Indigenous communities?
    By portraying Indigenous Art as a ‘myth’ or ‘legend’ demonstrates Indigenous history and culture as something that is fiction. Understanding Indigenous cultures and communities we know that this is not true. We must work with one another to achieve educational goals and cultural understanding.

    • As a teacher who was mandated to teach about the aboriginals of Canada I can definitely tell you there is more then one way to teach about aboriginal people. Myths,stories and art work comprise one section of the curriculum. Other curriculum areas: The influences of the environment such as how available wildlife and vegetation dictated living structures, clothing and story telling. The history of displacement and current issues which should be discussed. How european changed, influenced the direction and destiny of aboriginal people.

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