Cycle 1 Week 4- African Masks

Though the arts and ethnic groups of Africa are vast, one common trait is the making of masks.  Even within this commonality, African masks can land on a broad spectrum from representational to completely abstract.  In this lesson we will look at abstracted masks from the regions of Ancient Mali and Ghana (week 14 history sentence and geography) as well as other cultures surrounding those areas.  Even though we will study and gain inspiration from their designs, students are in no way expected to copy them.

What we do want students to learn from this lesson:

  • What the term “abstract” means
  • How to create an emphasis in an abstract deisgn
  • How to gain inspiration from other work, but change it to make it our own

I hope you and your students enjoy the lesson!


Drawing paper


Colored Pencils or markers

Images of African masks (from

Optional: print-outs of mask shapes for younger students (see page 2-4 of lesson plan)


Here is the lesson plan for Cycle 1 Week 4- African Masks



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