Masks and Mask Making
Lots of kids dress up and wear masks for Halloween but likely aren’t aware of the significance of masks in different cultures. This 3-day mini unit of study introduced 3rd and 4th graders to masks and their meanings in different parts of the world.
We kicked off our study with a visit to The Rubin Museum of Art’s special exhibit, Becoming Another: The Power of Masks. There, students learned about masks from Indonesia, Japan, The Pacific Northwest and elsewhere.
Of particular interest to most students was a large eagle mask, complete with wooden wings, and a mask worn by a performer who might kidnap children if they misbehave! Students also learned about the transformative power of masks, and how many of them were made.
The second day of our workshop found us taking the subway to Materials for the Arts in Long Island City to tour their facilities and take part in a mask making workshop. Finally, we wrote biographies for the masks we made. If masks allow us to become someone different, we wanted students to write about the who, what and why that their mask allowed them to become.
The culmination of our mask unit was a share out with fellow K-4 students, and an hour-long game of Freeze Tag at Travers Park!
Check out our bulletin board on the 3rd floor outside John’s room and read the descriptions of our masks!