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Masks at Mary Silveira: Studying Symmetry, Shape, Form and Color

Mentor Artist Julia James explored masks with the first graders at Mary Silveira School:

“The students and I began by looking at original masks from West Africa and Indonesia. Students observed the similarities and differences and as a class we shared and made connections to traditions in cultures around the world.  We then designed a mask together, as I drew and the students called out suggestions, using shapes incorporating symmetry.  Symmetry was explained as what is on one side of a face is repeated on the opposite.”

Step one: Drawing with pencil. Page is folded down the middle to encourage SYMMETRY: Whatever happens on one side, needs to happen on the other.

Students then created their personal mask beginning with pencil line and then adding vibrant colors with soft oil pastels.

Step two: Adding color with soft oil pastels, considering design: "What colors do I want to use?"

Careful coloring, and Reflecting on Patterns

Almost finished with coloring: What are complementary colors? How do different colors look when placed next to each other?

Step three: Cutting out the Mask: Careful around the ears!

Step four: Strategic cutting and taping makes the mask "POP" into three dimensions

And the finished Artwork: One project, infinite interpretations.

This lesson is wonderful in that it highlights many art standards and compliments the social studies unit on cultures and family traditions.