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Art Integration Lesson Plan

By: Amy Danaher

Grade Level: 5th grade

Lesson Title & Big Idea: Native American Identity Masks

Lesson Overview/Summary:
Class Periods Required:
I will begin this lesson by engaging the students in a whole class discussion over what they already know about
Native Americans. To foster this, students will use a KWLQ chart and fill out the What do you know? And what 1 2 3
do you want to learn? sections. To build on their fields of knowledge, the students will be introduced to various
Native American tribal masks. As a class we will look at two websites that explain the importance and
significance behind the masks. [ and] They will have the opportunity to learn about a
plethora of tribes cultures by studying their masks. Students will take a field trip to the Nelson-Atkins Museum
where they will be able to use this field trip as a starting point for their research on a tribe of their choosing.
Students will be able to take their iPads with them on the field trip to be able to snap photos and make sketches
while exploring the exhibit. This will help them later to construct their masks. An important thing to note is that
students are not copying a Native American mask but using it as inspiration to make their own unique identity
mask. They will also be encouraged to take notes on anything they find particularly interesting. The museum
does guided tours for classes, which will allow students to ask questions of knowledgeable experts. After
returning from the museum, students will be asked to start on their own identity masks. Through utilizing the
pictures they took, sketches they drew, notes jotted down, or any recordings taken of the tour guide speaking,
students will be able to start constructing their masks. They will have access to a variety of materials to construct
these such as: construction paper, pebbles and rocks, jewels, straw, feathers, markers, paint, etc. The significance
and purpose of the mask should be clear after discussion and field research, but to reinforce this the teacher will
go over how the masks are representative of individual stories, people, or traditions. Upon completing their
masks, students will be asked to reflect on what individual story, person, or tradition it represents and how the
different types of materials used portray this. Then students will present their masks to the class in the form of a
museum walk. The goal of this activity is to inspire wonder and spark questions about Native Americans in order
to engage students in building on their prior knowledge. Students will then be able to reflect on their own
identities based on how they construct their masks while drawing meaning from them.
Key Concepts:

Essential Questions:

1. Visual art: Students will be able to think critically about Native

American history, specifically reflecting upon how tribal masks were
created and what the symbolism behind them was.
2. Literacy: Students will be able to learn how to think about important
aspects of their own lives and represent this in the form of a writing
3. Social Studies: Students will be able to make connections between
themselves and the Native Americans.
Lesson Objectives:

1. How did Native Americans use symbolism to represent aspects of

their personality?
2. What are the most important parts of your life that have helped
shape your identity?
3. What similarities and differences do you see between yourself and
the Native Americans and how did you visually show these similarities
and differences in your mask?

1. Students will construct Native American inspired masks depicting their own individual identities.
2. Students will write a reflective piece on the symbolism behind what their masks represent taking into account what the different shapes, colors
and dcor they used mean.
3. Students will be able to analyze and discuss the significance and value of various Native American masks, as well as their own.
1.VA: R5.1
Compare ones own interpretation of a work of art with the
interpretation of others.
2. VA: R5.2
Identify and analyze cultural associations suggested by visual imagery.

Identify & define common vocabulary that connect the art form with
the other identified content areas:
1. Identity: The qualities, beliefs, personality, looks, or
expressions that make a person or group.
2. Native American: A member of any of the indigenous peoples
of America.
3. Tribe: A social division in a traditional society consisting of
families or communities linked by social, economic, religious,
or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically
having a recognized leader.
4. Spirit Animal: A representation of the traits and skills that you
are supposed to learn from.

5. Symbolism: The use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities.

6. Design: A plan or drawing produced to show the look and
function or workings of a building, garment, or other object
before it is built or made.
Content Areas Integrated:
Lesson Activities & Procedures:
Social studies (learning about Native Americans):
Day 1:
- Students will be engaged in a whole class discussion over what
Students will arrive to class ready to discuss Native American
they already know about Native Americans. As a class we will
masks and identity. They will have to draw on their previous
look at two different websites that explain the significance of the
knowledge of Native American history they acquired in their
mask. I will also provide images for students to investigate
fourth grade classes.
further for more authentic examples of Native American masks if
In an oral VTS forum led by the teacher, students will share
what they think the different Native American masks mean and
why. Possible probing questions can include: what do you think
Visual arts (Identity masks):
the masks message is? Why do you think the artist used this
- Students will create their own personal identity masks drawing
color? Do you think the shapes they used mean something?
on qualities, characteristics, or traits they possess that have
What image comes to mind when you see this mask?
influenced their identity. Students should take into account the
I will then present the project/lesson to the students and provide
different colors, shapes, and dcor they use and think about how
examples of a wide variety of Native American tribes masks.
these things reflect their identity.
We will start by looking at the two different websites as listed
above that explain in detail the symbolism/significance and
Literacy (Reflections on identity masks):
importance of different Native American masks. This is the
- After constructing their masks, students will write a short
time for them to ask any questions or get clarification on
reflection explaining the significance behind their mask. They
anything they may need.
will also be asked to write about what similarities and
This is also when I will show them my example of my identity
differences they found between their mask and Native American
mask and I will tell them that they will be creating their own
identity masks along with doing a writing reflection over it.
Here is also where I will stress to them we are not copying
Native American masks but simply using them as inspiration
for their own identity masks, and each one of ours will be
different because we are all unique.

Students will then be presented with their KWLQ charts and

explained to how to fill them out and what purpose they serve.
I will then explain to them that tomorrow we will be going on a
field trip to The Nelson Atkins Art Museum, where we will be
given the opportunity to get a tour of the Native American
collection (which houses an abundance Native American
After explaining to them how the field trip is going to go we
will review some key vocabulary. Words I plan to review with
them include: identity, Native American, tribe, spirit animal,
symbolism, and design.
Students will end the lesson by starting to fill out their KWLQ
chart (K and W parts).

Day 2:
Today is field trip day (will take 2 hours). Student will come to
class, put their backpacks up, grab their iPads and board the bus
to head to the art museum.
Students will arrive at the museum ready and prepared to be
given a tour of the Native American collection. They will have
their iPads ready to go to take any notes/pictures, create any
sketches, or record anything they may want for the assignment.
After the tour, students will have the opportunity to walk
around to take any additional pictures/notes or work on a
sketch. This is time for them to explore and gather as much
information they feel they need to execute the project.
Once the field trip is over, we will head back to school and
students will start on their rough drafts for their masks.
Students will have to run their drafts for their masks by me
before they can start on their final one.
Then once students have done this step they will have the rest
of the time to work on creating their mask. They will be able to

use a variety of materials like: construction paper, beads,

buttons, feather, sequins, markers, crayons, etc. to construct
Accommodations for ELs and SPED students will also be
provided. For ELs they will have a translator there to assist
them with any questions (however I am hoping that my
demonstrating/videos the museum helped clarify any lingering
questions). For the SPED kids they will be paired with a buddy
and provided a template to help get them started.

Day 3:
Upon completion of their masks, students will start on the
writing portion of the assignment. They will have to make a
rough draft and have it edited before starting their final one.
After their draft has been edited they must finish their final
copy and then attach it to their mask.
Once everyone has finished, as a class we will have a museum
walk where students can walk around and share with their peers
their masks. This also provides other students to ask their peers
questions about their creations.
Then we will play the game Passing the Ha to provide
students another opportunity to ask questions to their
classmates in a fun and engaging way.
Finally to close the lesson, we will have a short debrief and
reflection time where students will fill out the remaining
columns in their KWLQ charts (L and Q parts).
Anticipatory Set:
Students will conduct a series of VTS activities introducing them to an
array of different Native American masks. This will allow students to be
pre-exposed to this type of artwork and get them interested about Native
American masks. Students will then take a field trip to a local art

I will close the unit by setting aside a time for debriefing and
reflection. Students will use this time to fill out the L and Q sections of
their KWLQ charts. This will allow students to reflect on what theyve

museum to actually see some real Native American masks. The VTS
activity and field trip are great ways to get the students pumped up about learned and what questions they still have. We will also have an openended discussion about where students think they might be able to look
this new topic and will hopefully inspire a little wonder and curiosity.
for answers/more information for their questions.

Formative Assessment strategy:

Students will be informally assessed through the notes and sketches they
took during the field trip, their KWLQ charts, and the construction of
their identity masks. This will help me examine what students have
learned about Native Americans so far and what stereotypes might still
exist in their minds.

Summative Assessment strategy:

To assess what my students have learned after the lesson, I will ask
them to write a reflective piece on the symbolism behind their masks,
and how they artistically represented this to show parts of their
identity. I will also be conducting a museum walk to allow my students
the opportunity to learn about their peers masks and create an
environment for students to ask questions.

What student prior knowledge will this lesson require/draw upon?

Prior to conducting this lesson, students must have some prior knowledge on Native American culture and history. They will be asked to draw on
their 4th grade history knowledge they have already acquired. They should have a general idea of what Native American masks look like, what
they are used for, and the symbolism behind different masks.
How will you engage students in imagining, exploring, and/or experimenting in this lesson?
- Imagining/exploring: I plan to engage students in the imagining and exploring part of this lesson by taking my students to the art museum
and exposing them to real Native American masks. This will inspire/provide them examples and ideas on how to construct their own
masks. This also encourages exploring by learning about various Native American tribes cultures and traditions.
- Experimenting: Before students will be able to make a final mask, they must go through the sketch making/rough draft pre-design phases.
Their iPads will be able to be utilized to sketch their ideas on them before having to make the final project.
How will this lesson allow for/encourage students to solve problems in divergent ways?
This activity encourages students to solve problems in divergent ways. Each student is different and each student has something unique to bring to
the table. This means children come from unique backgrounds and cultures that expose them to a plethora of experiences. All of our students have
special experiences that helped shape their identity. Therefore, each student will interpret this lesson differently and tailor their mask to their own

individual experiences. Hence, no childs masks will be the same because no child thinks the same or has the same background.
How will you engage students in routinely reflecting on their learning?
To engage students routinely in reflecting on their learning, they will be completing an ongoing KWLQ chart. Throughout the lesson, they will be
asked to consistently reflect upon what they know and have learned. In addition, they will be encouraged to add any important findings to their
chart. This chart should be utilized like a notebook, recording a detailed account of the students personal notes/thoughts or findings discovered
during the lesson.
How will you adapt the various aspects of the lesson to differently abled students?
Nowadays teachers have a wide variety of students coming into the classroom. A few adaptions I plan to make in my lesson are with regards to
SPED students and my English Language Learners. First, for my SPED kids, I will provide them a template as a starting point to help get them off
the ground. I also plan to pair them with a stronger student to act as their buddy to assist them in anyway they need. Second, for my ELLs, I plan
to bring in the ELL teacher to help assist them with any confusion they may have with language barriers. Also, I am excited to allow EL students
to share their unique perspectives and varied cultural experiences.
What opportunities/activities will students be given to revise and improve their understandings and their work?
The students will have two chances to revise and improve throughout the lesson. First, before constructing the final piece (for the mask) they will
be encouraged to layout how they want everything to look before they glue it down. This will help eliminate the use of wasting resources and also
help the students get a clear idea of what they want to do before they do it. Second, before submitting a final copy of their writing piece, they will
have to do 2 revisions (one with a peer and one of their own) before turning a hard copy into me. This will help them double check their work
before turning it into me. In addition, this will also help them catch any small grammatical or spelling mistakes they have made.
What opportunities/activities will you provide for students to share their learning in this lesson?
Students will participate in a museum walk, where they can examine each other's projects and have time to ask questions. Afterwards we will
form a circle and play a variation of Pass the Ha. In this this adaptation, one student will pass a question to another student. For example, a
student might ask: Can you tell me about why you drew your mask this way? Or can you share with me what the meaning behind your mask is?
That student can then pass the ha and a question to the next student and so on. This will allow students to share their thoughts and generate
questions in an entertaining and non-threatening way. In addition, I also like this as activity because its starts to build that sense of community and
understanding of diversity and different identities.

Lesson Resources/References (please be very specific by providing links, authors, titles, etc.):
- The Nelson-Atkins Museum