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African Tribal Mask

Learn about the rich history of African culture by creating a traditional African tribal mask. It will look authentic when you create a wood grain texture using Crayola Color Sticks.

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. African tribal masks are an important part of traditional African culture. They have a spiritual or religious meaning and are used during traditional African ceremonies. Have students gather some pictures of African Tribal masks from the internet or books to use as a reference.
    2. MAKE RUBBING PLATES Have students cut several pieces of poster board into medium-size pieces about 4 x 10 inches (10 x 25 cm)with Crayola Scissors.
    3. Students print a wood grain pattern from the computer or copy from a book. Cut out the wood grain pattern with scissors and glue onto a piece of cut poster board. Trace over the lines in the wood grain pattern with Crayola School Glue and air-dry completely overnight.
    4. MAKE TEXTURED WOOD GRAIN DESIGNS Students use the flat side of a Color Stick to color a piece of construction paper with several lighter shades of brown. Place the colored construction paper on top of the rubbing plate and use the flat side of a dark brown color stick to rub over the paper until the wood grain image appears. Have students fill several sheets of construction paper with wood grain rubbings.
    5. Students carefully cut a piece of cardboard into a large circle.
    6. Lay the wood grain rubbings side by side and glue them into one long sheet by overlapping the edges about 1 inch (2.5 cm).
    7. Cut the wood grain paper to fit onto the cardboard circle. Depending on the size of the cardboard, students may need to piece together several pieces to cover the cardboard. Glue the wood grain paper to the cardboard with a Crayola Glue Stick.
    8. Have students use Color Sticks to color over the wood grain rubbings to create a traditional African Tribal mask design.
  • Standards

    LA: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

    LA: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

    LA: Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.

    LA: Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

    LA: Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.

    MATH: Measure and estimate lengths in standard units.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: The Fire Children: A West African Folk Tale by Eric Maddern; Africa Is Not A Country by Margy Burns Knight; We All Went On Safari by Laurie Krebs; Joshua's Masai Mask by Dakari Hru

    Encourage students to work in small groups and explore African art by region. Ask students to compare and contrast regional art from Mali, Kenya, the Ivory Coast, Guinea, Gabon, Botswana, Tansania, and Egypt.

    Invite students to create a hand-drawn map of Africa, as well as locating the continent on a world map or globe. Identify the borders of the many nations that comprise Africa. Challenge students to compare and contrast two of the African countries. How are masks used in each of these countries' cultures?

    Kente cloths and mud cloths also use traditional African patterns. Challenge students to research and reproduce one or more of these patterns and explain its significance to the culture it is tied to.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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