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Units February 8, 2022

African Geography and Hidden Histories: Making African Masks

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Lesson Summary: This mini-unit reveals hidden histories of the systematically excluded by exploring the geography of West Africa and creating masks in the spirit and essence of West Africa that represent the students’ lived experiences. Downloads: Unit resources
SECTIONS


This unit was created by educators in UBUNTU: High School for Law Advocacy and Community Justice, as part of the 2021 cohort of The 1619 Project Education Network. It is designed for facilitation across three-to-five days.

Objectives

Students will...

  • Learn the geography and current capitals and countries of the African continent.
  • Explore the hidden history of the masks in West Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa and their cultural significance.
  • Create their own masks that reflect their lived experiences/hopes/culture/pride.

Essential Questions

  • How can we challenge our geographic perceptions of the African continent?
  • How are masks used historically/presently in West Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa? 
  • How can you create a mask that reflects your life experiences and culture?
  • Why is consistent map-practice essential to understanding geography, history, and current events?

Unit Overview

As part of the core mission of The 1619 Project is revealing the hidden histories of the systematically excluded, this mini-unit returns to the source of humanity by exploring the geography of West Africa and creating masks in the spirit and essence of West Africa that represent the students’ lived experiences. This unit will introduce students to African geography and the culture of West Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa through mask-making and visual art.

Performance Task

Students will make a mask that represents themselves, their lived experiences, culture, hopes, dreams, aspirations, etc. Every mask should include...

  • The agreed upon collective symbol to demonstrate that we are a community and accountable to one another.
  • At least two colors that are symbolic to the individual student.
  • At least one symbol that is meaningful to the individual student.

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