In conjunction with a unit on African History, seventh grade students
at Bret Harte Middle School worked on the African Mask Project. The
project consisted of two components. The first part of the project was
the construction of a papier-mâché mask, emulating an actual
African tribal mask. The second phase of the project was a "museum writing"
describing the mask.
students choose a mask to reproduce. The goal is to replicate the
mask as closely as possible. Students use papier-machè formed
around a base to construct their replica. Features are then added.
The features are then papier mached until hard. Next, the mask is
painted and varnished. The last step is to add any other elements
such as hair, cloth, raffia, and metal to the finished mask.
The museum writing consists
of two sections. The first section element is a well-researched
article on the tribal group were the mask originated. The students
must determine which materials were used to produce the mask.
These materials must be indigenous to Africa and the region in
which the tribe lived. In this section the student will also describe
the region in detail geographically.
The last part of the museum writing component, and perhaps the
most important, is to describe the ceremony or purpose of the
mask. In other words, how did their tribal group use the mask.
The research for this is sometimes quite difficult. If the exact
purpose of the mask cannot be determined, the student must create
appraise for the mask based on what other ceremony masks are used
for by the tribe.
Extension Activities Ideas:
||expand research and create ethnic group reports
artifcacts from Africa to spark ideas for further investigations
||research how masks are used in other places
||investigate why masking ceremonies are no longer common
place in Africa
||what and how are other objects used in ceremonies around the world
including the United States
||Black Africa by Laure Meyer (1992)
||Masks of Black Africa by Ladislas Segy (1976)
||The Principal Ethnic Groups of African Art by Jacqes Kerchache
||The Shape and Belief - African Art by Mary Roberts and Allen F.
||From Afar to Zulu by Jim Haskins and Joann Biondi (1995)
||Africa books from Ethnic
Arts and Facts
||Africa Culture Kits from Ethnic
Arts and Facts
This project is based on lessons
created by Bret Harte Middle School teachers Jack Sheehan (retired)
and Kent Fitzsimmons.
Images were used from various websites listed throughout
this website and made possible from Peter Mates (Bret Harte Middle School),
Connie Sutton (Bret Harte Middle School), Kent Fitzsimmons (Bret Harte
Middle School), Linda Swanson (Oakland Unified School District), and
Trena Noval (My eCoach).
This site was designed and is maintained by Leilani Carbonell Pedroni
and her former middle school students. Mrs. Carbonell Pedroni is a former
teacher (West Athens Elementary, Los Angeles, CA and Bret Harte Middle
School, Oakland, CA) and is currently working with
Ethnic Arts and Facts - a multicultural resources company (teacher-owned)
and as an eCoach for My eCoach,
a division of Computer Strategies, LLC (another teacher-owned company)-
provider of professional development planning and support to teachers
in standards-based project development integrating technology. She recieved
her Bachelor's from UCLA and her Master's in Education - Instructional
Technologies from San Francisco State University.
For comments and questions please fill out a contact form
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Website Created by
Leilani Carbonell © 2002
Content and Student Work Provided by Leilani Carbonell and Kent Fitzsimmons,
Bret Harte Middle School, Oakland, CA