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Kente Weaving Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

With this lesson plan, your students are going to learn about the West African tradition of kente cloth. They will apply their learning with a craft activity designed to focus on the planning and artistry of kente cloth construction.

Learning Objectives

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

  • Define kente cloth and its role in West African cultures
  • Explain the general process by which kente cloth is created
  • Appreciate the planning and artistry that goes into kente cloth construction

Length

60-90 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.4

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.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.1

Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

Materials

Instructions

  • Begin by discussing textiles of Africa. Ask students what comes to mind when they picture native African textiles or clothing.
    • Are there are styles of fabrics you know of that can be seen as part of African identity? What are those fabrics like? Where have you seen them?
  • Hand out printed copies of Kente Cloth: Definition, History & Designs.
  • You will read this lesson aloud as a class, with one student reading at a time. Switch the reader with every paragraph break.
  • Using this method, read the sections ''Kente Cloth'' and ''History of Kente Cloth''. Pause here and discuss this information as a class.
    • Where is Ghana? Can you locate Ghana on a map? (At this point, it may be helpful to have a map of Africa).
    • Why would spiders inspire people to begin weaving? What might this tell us about the role of the spider in West African cultures? What do we expect the spider could represent?
  • Continue reading the lesson as a class. Read the section ''Technique'', then pause to discuss.
    • How does weaving traditionally work? What do weavers use to create fabrics?
    • Based on the pictures in this lesson, do kente cloth fabrics look planned? If you are making a garment one strip at a time, how much advanced planning do you think this takes? Do you think you could hold a pattern like that in your mind while you were creating it?
  • As a class, read the remainder of the lesson and discuss.
    • Would you have guessed that the colors and symbols of kente cloth are often symbolic? Do we do anything similar with our clothing? How do we know when something is appropriate for an occasion, like a wedding or funeral?
    • Look through the pictures of kente cloth in this lesson? Do they look different? What aesthetic or mood do you think each is trying to capture?
  • You may test student understanding with Lesson Quiz.

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