Plaster and paint are integral parts of archeological research at Mesa Verde. In this lesson, students use soil to create their own plaster artwork. They also act as archeologists and use the scientific method to explain how the Ancestral Pueblo people used soil to make plaster and paint.
For this activity, the scientific method includes 5 basic steps: Making observations, asking informed questions, forming a hypothesis, testing hypotheses, and revising a hypothesis or forming a conclusion.
Students will be able to:
Describe how soil is used to make pigment plaster and paint
Differentiate between sand, silt and clay
Describe the main components of Puebloan plaster
Create their own plaster design
Explain why archaeologists study plaster
Conduct and evaluate a scientific exploration of plaster
Describe the steps of the scientific method
Cobblestones/pestle and bowl for grinding
Paper cups or bowls (4 oz. size)
Paint brushes (Puebloans would have used yucca brushes and their hands)
Sponges, rags, or paper towels
Sandpaper and masking tape
Small clipboards or stiff boards
Soil -- various colors and textures, without a lot of rock or organic material.