Second grade students discussed the different ways we use masks. Students are used to seeing these objects on halloween, in the circus, as part of parades and festivals, or in theater performances. We then explored how masks are used in other parts of the world. The class saw masks from Venice, Cambodia, Japan, Native Americans, and Bali. Finally we focused on the masks from Africa. . Students saw examples from Africas many countries and discussed the different ways the masks were used. We discovered that masks in Africa are very different than the masks we have encountered here. In Africa its believed that masks contain spirits of ancestors, animals, or other forces of nature. When a person wears one of these masks the spirit takes over and a transformation takes place. During a masquerade (when the mask is worn) an audience gathers to see what the mask has to say or teach them. Students were able to watch videos of some of these masks in motion.
We then set out to create our own masks using model magic. Students learned how to manipulate the clay to create the form of their mask. When we are done building, applying textures, and beads we will begin to add color!