My fifth graders just wrapped up a fun project utilizing symmetry. This project came to me through another intermediate art teacher in my school system. We intitially discussed symmetry (which they truly are experts on) and the purposes behind a mask.
We started off by folding a 4 1/2 x 6 inch piece of light brown construction paper in half length-wise. We then drew a simple "half face" for a mask on one side of the folded paper. I emphasized exaggerating features. Add details like jewelry, hair, and designs to the face.
Students then traced over the design with black crayon (pressing hard). We then opened the paper and folded it closed so that the image was within the fold.
Students then rubbed with tools (such as tongue depressors, etc) to transfer the black crayon to the other side of the brown paper.
When opened they could see a light black line of the other side of their design. This transferring to the other side made their picture more symmetrical. Students then colored the other side of the face so it would be outlined as darkly as the first. This intro took the entire first week class.
The second week students colored their designs with construction paper crayons (Oh how I love those crayons!). The one rule was that they needed to maintain symmetry from left to right. I also emphasized using "wild" and exciting colors.
On the third week of this project, students completed the coloring of the mask faces using construction crayons. Then they glued their brown paper to a piece of 9 x 12" black construction paper for a frame. I gave each table of students a hand-out of West African symbols that I found. Students could use one symbol or multiple depending on how they wanted their mask to be represented. Students drew their symbols on scrap squares of colored construction paper with our awesome crayons! Symbols were glued around the black frame. Some students needed to carry on to a third week.
This last mask is one done by a student a couple of years ago. These symbols were drawn with brown marker instead of crayon which can be just as effective.
This project took three forty minute classes. Love the results! Hardest part is transferring the image from one side of the brown construction to the other side. Other than that the rest is a breeze!