Grounded in Clay: Curriculum image





In lesson I, students will explore the questions: What does Pueblo pottery do? What does your pottery do and why? How does pottery function in the lives of Pueblo communities and peoples?

Begin learning about Pueblo pottery so that learners can start the “research” phase for their own pottery pieces. VTS/See-Think-Wonder with pottery pieces from Grounded in Clay, honing in on patterns on the clay’s surface and the shapes of vessels (i.e. how vessel shapes connect to utilitarian purposes). Sketch the shape of your pottery – exterior, interior – and what “additives” it will have that are personally significant to you.

Big Idea/Enduring Understanding

“The pots we see are more than just beautiful and they carry more than water – they are bestowed with knowledge, love, and respect.”
– Diane Bird (Kewa/Santo Domingo Pueblo)  

Pottery, in multiple ways, serves as a pragmatic and spiritual tool for survival. Their physical use is most apparent when carrying water, storing grains, cooking food, and holding ceremonies. Pottery can also serve aesthetic purposes, decorating living rooms and museum galleries, enhancing all that surrounds them with their beauty. For some, pottery and economics are closely tied; pottery making keeps families fed, bills paid, and sends children to school. In other moments, a more intangible utility steps forward and shines, as they serve as vessels for stories and vehicles for sharing cultural knowledge, history, and community.

Lesson Procedures

Step-by-Step Instructions
(0-5 minutes): Warm up

For beginning this lesson, gauge what level of familiarity students may already have with Pueblo pottery.

  • Who is familiar with pottery? Is anyone familiar with, or have you heard of, Pueblo Pottery?

(5-30 minutes): Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) and See-Think-Wonder with images of pottery from GiC exhibition.

Refer to the catalog entries noted in “Materials and Equipment”.

  • Beginning the discussion: What’s going on with this pottery vessel?
  • When conversation comes to pause: What else do you notice? 
  • When encouraging students to elaborate: What makes you say that? 
  • Allow students to absorb information: What does it make you wonder?

(30-45 minutes): Artmaking

Students will create their own pottery design by experimenting with vessel shapes and personally meaningful designs. Teacher should prompt students with questions, including:

  • What will your pottery vessel be used for? What body shape will help to accomplish that purpose, or use?
  • What personally meaningful images or symbols will you include on the surface of the vessel? 

(45-50 minutes): Clean up

(50-60 minutes): Closure/Reflection with students.

Allow students to reflect on what they learned by inviting them to (a) share one thing they learned about Pueblo pottery uses and (b) one thing that they are confused about or have questions about.

Utility Curriculum

Time Requirements
1 hour

Materials and Equipment

  • (x20) sheets of paper
  • (x20) drawing utensils packs
  • (x1) Projector with images
  • Grounded in Clay catalog entries for Lesson I (see ‘Curators’ tab)
    • Tony R. Chavarria: Pindii Among the Clouds
    • Cliff Fragua: Innovative Transition in Clay
    • Felicia Garcia: Long Necks
    • Diego Romero: “Singing Man” mono
    • Monica Silva Lovato: Matriarchal Directive