Friday, April 12, 2013

The Symolic Colors of the Maasai.....3rd graders in Kenya

We took a short detour after our ridged trip to Antarctica and while waiting for the suitcases to arrive, and explored the life, culture and art of the Maasai tribe in Kenya on the continent of Africa. 
The focus of this travel experience was to learn and understand the different ways people from different parts of the world live, communicate and express themselves.  We started with an exciting discussion about the life and culture of the Maasai peoples of Kenya, along with a little bit of independent note taking.  Throughout our travel adventures, I have been guiding their note taking in their 'passports' by writing the information on the board. 
On this adventure, each student listened and wrote the information independently.  It was really awesome to see the students feel comfortable with this activity.  The main reason independent note taking was successfull is because of the consistent routine of our travel experiences. 

Maasai Warrior with Shield

The students used familiar techniques, knowledge and materials to create their own unique, self reflective shield or necklace.

brown construction paper
white tagboard
black sharpies
paint (basic colors, plus white and black)

What to do:
After the introduction, discussion and answering a gazillion questions, students choose to create either a shield or a necklace. 
To Make a SHIELD: 
1. fold a piece of brown construction paper lengthwise
2. draw a half oval-ish shape, starting from the fold and ended at the fold to create a symetrical shape
3. cut it out
4. draw a symetrical design
5. trace with black sharpie

To Make a NECKLACE:       
1. trace a paper plate
2. draw a larger circle around the plate
3. cut it out, creating a slit to cut out the 'inside' circle
4. draw a pattern all the way around the necklace
5. trace with black sharpie


6. students use 4 colors from the Symbolism Chart and paint the shield and necklace
7. students use express why they chose the specific colors using the prompt:
I am _(color)_____________because___(description of characteristic)______________.


"I am red because I am brave. I will stand up for anyone who is getting bullied" 
written by a 3rd grade warrior


Students' curiosities and inquisitions were really amazing for this quick lesson.  From the differences of their houses to their daily lives, to the "jumping dance", students began to understand and appreciate the world outside of the art room.

Please refer to this link for the resources used in the lesson: 
African Art, History and just a bit of Mystery

Also, check out the links for more resources and help students 'see' the world!

(for video)

xoxo, SMocK you.