Shirley Huller White

Grade 4: Art Education

All lessons presented here implement project and inquiry based learning strategies, and meet or exceed Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework standards.

Artwork presented here may NOT be reproduced in any way.

Art Lesson/Unit: Grade Level 4

Clay Mask Creations: Masks from Around the World

Enduring Understandings:

  • Masks have been created and worn from ancient times to modern day as part of rituals, festivals, and ceremonies.
  • Artists often create mask designs that emphasize symmetry and positive and negative space.
  • When creating a decorative mask, artists may use ceramic clay techniques such as hand-building with clay slabs and coils, using a variety of modeling tools, and glazing with expressive colors.

Essential Questions:

  • How might your mask design be inspired by examples of historical and modern masks?
  • How can you create a mask design that emphasizes symmetry and positive and negative space?
  • How can you use clay hand-building and glazing techniques to create a decorative mask?

Exemplars and Inspirations:

This lesson is inspired by historical and contemporary mask designs from around the world.

Materials and Techniques:

  • Pencils, sketchbooks or sketch paper to plan design
  • Low-fire clay and glaze
  • Variety of modeling tools, cookie cutters, templates, etc.
  • Raffia, beads and string for decorating


Planning: create a collaged mask design that emphasizes symmetry and positive and negative space with black and white paper.