In the Beginning a Half Day Students Create Prehistoric Art on the Walls of Teacher's 'Cave'

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Byline: Adam DeRose

Cave paintings of prehistoric creatures drawn by present-day elementary school students adorned the walls of a 7-foot cave as part of a project to teach third- and fourth-graders about art history.

Students at Half Day School in Lincolnshire traveled across town recently to the Rivershire Nature Center to study prehistoric art. They drew on the walls of the cave made from bulletin boards wrapped in crinkled brown construction paper.

"We spend the week before talking about the cave paintings in France and Spain." said art teacher Kerry Sweet. "We talked about how they got light into the caves and how they created tools."

Sweet, 38, of Mundelein designed the cave -- and the curriculum.

The students visited the cave as part of a prehistoric art unit, which Sweet has taught six times.

"When kids say 'how did art start,' well, this is how art started," Sweet said.

Sweet originally envisioned the cave in her classroom, but was able to use the space at the Rivershire Nature Center. The district uses the center as part of a partnership with the village of Lincolnshire, said Principal Jennifer Able of Mundelein.

Students crawled on their hands and knees to enter the cave Sweet built herself. …