6th Grade Pacific Northwest Masks

Pacific Northwest Native American Masks

6th Grade Art

Erica Mathieson

Title: Pacific Northwest Masks


The students will begin the project by watching a video about the Pacific Northwest Native American culture. Students will prep and wedge their own clay and use a variety of clay tools to create features for their masks. We will discuss topics such as mood and emotion and how to convey expression in their masks, formal and informal styles, repetition of design and pattern, as well as the symbolism and meaning behind these beautiful masks. The students will be given a multi-sensory experience when exploring the traditions and cultures of the Pacific Northwest. Students will watch video, listen to music, as well as be able to touch examples of  masks from previous years. Students will also be given a PowerPoint presentation showing and explaining the various styles and forms the masks can take. They will have resource material available for them to reference when designing their own mask and implementing that design with the clay.


The student will:

Explore the culture of the Pacific Northwest Native Americans in order to create a clay mask that accurately represents Pacific Northwest ideas

Think critically to include elements and principles of design like color, texture, variety and repetition in their masks

Utilize clay-handling methods and tools to create a well-composed clay mask

Create an armature/support system and mold the clay around it



Day 1:

  • Watch video
  • Listen to Pacific Northwest music
  • Prep cast for mask

Day 2:

  • Pass around mask samples
  • Tour clay room
  • Wedge clay

Day 3:

  • PowerPoint presentation-elements/principles of design and samples
  • Mood and emotion discussion
  • Design and sketch mask

Day 4:

  • Teacher check-in: Get mask sketch approved
  • Begin modeling clay mask

Day 5:

  • Work day and teacher check-ins

Day 6:

  • Work Day and teacher check-ins

Day 7:

  • Work Day and teacher check-ins

Day 8:

  • Assessment



  • Clay
  • Mask samples
  • Clay tools


  • Computer
  • Projector
  • Kiln


  • PowerPoint Presentation
  • Sample images
  • Video
  • Music

Evaluation and Closure:

Students will be given a rubric for the assessment, on which they will give themselves the grade they think their artwork deserves. They will provide me with a written statement explaining why they graded themselves the way they did, what they feel is successful in their project and what they think could improve. They will visit two of their peers and ask for feedback and other perspectives. I will grade the students on how well their project demonstrates mastery of the unit objectives as well as use of class time. Effort and improvement will also be considered when assigning a final grade.


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