Make Your Own Petroglyph

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In ancient Chaco Canyon, the people used a "sun dagger" petroglyph to mark the passing of seasons. A petroglyph is a symbol that has been carved into a rock surface by pecking or scraping with another rock. Petroglyphs were used to convey messages and ideas. Our modern cultures also use symbols in similar ways. In this activity, learners will try to convey meaning through symbols by making their own petroglyphs.

Quick Guide

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • pencil or pen
  • paper


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth's History
      • Archeology
    • Earth, Moon and Sun
      • Seasons
  • The Nature of Science
    • Science and Society
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Technology and the Environment
      • Technology and History


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Marks, Robin


Funding Sources:

  • Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum
  • Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
  • Jim Clark Endowment for Internet Education
  • McBean Family Foundation