African Masks Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

What role have masks played in the culture of Africa throughout history? This lesson plan opens with a text lesson to outline key facts and closes with an activity to reinforce learning. Each student will walk away with an African mask of their own.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • describe the characteristics of African masks
  • explain the purpose and significance of masks in African culture
  • distinguish between different types of African masks
  • summarize the history of African masks


60 to 90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.


  • Assorted images of African masks
  • Full-color paper copies of the text lesson African Masks: Types & History
  • A worksheet created using the quiz from the associated text lesson
  • Assorted fact sheets listing basic information about a specific African tribe's use of masks (including photos)
  • Reference materials (e.g. Internet, textbook, encyclopedia)
  • Cardboard
  • Paper plates
  • Construction paper in assorted colors
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Glue
  • Embellishments (e.g. feathers, shells, and so on)
  • Ribbon, string or twine
  • Fine-tipped markers

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