African Masks

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(Teacher example)

2nd graders made African Masks after looking at various examples while learning about specific features and how they were used.  Up above are examples of what I did two different years based on what supplies I had.

We discussed symmetrical balance and shape while working on our masks.

Materials:

  • 9″X12″ brown construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Pencils
  • Oil Pastels
  • Glue
  • Yarn
  • Hole Punchers
  • Mask Template (optional, but it helped the younger kids a lot.   Otherwise they tend to cut the masks too small)
  • Glitter (optional)

Directions:

  1. Trace mask template on the brown sheet of paper.  Cut out.  Don’t throw away your scraps.
  2. Fold mask in half the long way (like a hotdog).  Open.  This shows you where the middle of your paper is and should help you keep everything symmetrically balanced.
  3. Using your scrap paper, cut out any features you want to add to your mask.  Ex: Horns, noses, eyes, ears, random shapes (as long as you keep everything symmetrically balanced).  Features could also be cut out of the face.
  4. Using oil pastels, draw various shapes and designs on your mask.
  5. Hole punch 10-20 holes anywhere on your mask.  Loop the yarn through.
  6. If students have time, add dots of glue and sprinkle with glitter to resemble jewels.

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I’ve done this project three times and each time was a little different.  The first time I didn’t tell the students to cut holes in their masks for their eyes, but several of them kept asking if they could, so the next year I gave that as an option from the beginning.  I also didn’t tell them how many hole punches to do the first year, which resulted in kids going crazy with the hole puncher.

The last year I taught this lesson, we ran out of brown construction paper.  I had tons of manila paper, so the first step we did was paint our manila paper brown.  The kids loved this.  I would almost do this part again just because they enjoyed it so much.   It also let them get a little crazy with the paint without having to worry about making a pretty picture.  They just had to cover the paper.

No matter which way you do this project, kids seem to love making masks and wearing them down the hallways back to their class.

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