Tuesday, January 4, 2011

aztec inspired mask lesson plan

This Tialoc Mask (c. 1300 -1500) is from the Saint Louis Art Museum.
Type of Lesson Plan: Object-based Lesson Plan/Reading Comprehension (Integrated Studies)
Topic: Aztec Inspired Mask
Goals & Objectives: 
  • Students will demonstrate basic mask making techniques 
  • Students will demonstrate basic mosaic making techniques
  • Students will discuss different cultural views of beauty
Missouri Show-Me Standards: FA 5, FA 4, FA 1.FA 3
Strand V: Historical and Cultural Contexts – Prepare and contrast artworks from different historical time periods and/or cultures
A. Grade 6 – Identify works from Pre-Columbian Americas
Strand IV: Interdisciplinary Connections – Explain the connections between Visual Art and Communication Arts and Social Studies
A. Grade 6 - Explain how American artworks reflect the cultures in which they were created
Strand I: Product/Performance – Select and apply three-dimensional media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas and solve challenging visual art problems
A. Grade 6 – Create a relief artwork by joining two or more surfaces using a layering material
Strand III: Artistic Perceptions – Investigate the nature of art and discuss responses to artworks
A. Grade 6 – Discuss how different cultures have different concepts of beauty and explain how responses to artworks from various cultures are based on both personal experience and group beliefs
Grade Level Targeted: Middle School (7-9)
Number of Class Periods: five 55 minute class periods
Facility & Equipment Requirements:
  • A computer to show the slide show/power point
  • A paper shredder
Resources needed for teaching lesson:
  •       Power point “Masks”
Materials Per Student:
  • Newsprint
  • Masking tape
  • Glue
  • Bold and bright solid blue, white, and turquoise papers
  • Wheat paste
  • Scissors
  • Mod Podge
Vocabulary Terms:
  1. Tialoc – was the rain god or the Aztecs
  2. Mask – a covering to disguise the face
  3. Mosaic – art consisting of the breaking up of small stones or fragments of objects or paper and applying these materials to the surface of another object
  4. Death Mask – a mask made from the actual face of a deceased person, it is made to memorialize the person
  5. Buccal Mask – This mask only covers the nose, mouth, and cheeks
  6. Functional Mask –  this mask is designed for a purpose other than drama, art, or decorative purposes
  7. Tribal Mask – this mask is developed for ceremonial purposes by a specific ethnic tribe
  8. Persona – in mask making the “persona” is the character that the mask represents
Step-by-step activity: Allow for 20 minutes on the first day to review a slide show about masks
  1. On the first day of the studio project, students will crush and shape newspaper into a mask shape and use masking tape to refine the mask and keep newspaper under control.
  2. After you have roughed out a shape for a mask that you are pleased with, cover this form entirely with two layers of masking tape.
  3. Cut holes for eyes, nose, and mouth and wrap these inside and out with masking tape as well.
  4. Then tear one-inch strips of newspaper for the paper mache process.
  5. The instructor will provide for you a flour paste to mache with. Dip the newspaper strips into the paste entirely and gently squeeze out the excess mixture into the bowl.
  6. Smooth the newsprint pieces out over your mask form alternating the directions in which you layer each strip of newspaper. Overlap the stripes and apply two or three layers on top of each other as you cover the mask completely from front to back.
  7. Place your finished wet mask on top of a sheet of wax paper on the drying table.
  8. When students return the next day, they will be cutting a selection of papers for the mosaic work that they will apply to their masks when these have thoroughly dried.
  9. On the third day the masks should be dry enough to work with. Students may then draw a pattern on top of the mask form with a number two pencil.
  10. Then students will apply with white glue one paper mosaic tile at a time to enhance their mosaic tile mask. This work should take approximately two, 55 minute class periods to complete.
Cleanup Time & Strategy: Cleanup time allotted 5 minutes for everyday that a studio assignment is being worked upon in the classroom
Assessment: I will be using an informal assessment and will also take notes during the completion of the projects. The grades will be posted online for the students and their parents to view at a private rubrics site hosted by their school district. Below is a list of criteria that I will be looking for while assessing the student's grades on this particular project.
   * Selection of mosaic patterns and colors that enhance the features of the student's mask
   * Consistent cutting and pasting of paper mosaic tiles that prove care and design
   * Enthusiasm for the project
   * Participation in class discussions
Crush newspapers into a mask shape and
then cover this with masking tape.
Layer wheat paste and newspapers on
top of the mask to give it strength.
Draw your design with markers so that you
know where to glue your paper mosaic tiles.
Remember students are learning a mosaic technique;
do not insist that students necessarily copy
a Tialoc mask if they do not wish to.
Teaching culture does not mean that students
"copy culture." Teaching culture properly means
that students will learn to identify cultural ideas.
Glue down small clippings of "paper mosaic tiles"
with a white school glue. Finish the surface by
sealing it with Mod Podge!
More mask making art lessons:

All lessons copyrighted by Grimm, 2010
The above photograph is by the Saint Louis Art Museum, used by permission. 

"The Mysterious Maya" by George and Gene Stuart, 1977
Need articles for a literacy activity based upon the Mayan culture? I have a title in my own collection, "The Mysterious Maya" by National Geographic Society. These articles are written on an 8th grade reading level but are interesting enough for 7th - 12th graders. 

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