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3rd Grade Magnet Mask Unit

3rd Grade Magnet Mask Unit

The 3rd grade Magnet Mask Unit was a collaborative unit with Ms. Aalbue, the art teacher; Ms. Auerbach, the librarian; and Ms. Grisar, professional storyteller and teacher from PreK-207.

Every 3rd grade class participated in this cross-curricular unit. Here’s what we did:

Session 1
: We talked about facial expressions and learned how to draw faces that show emotions. We answered these questions:

What is a mask? Why do we wear masks? (protection; performance; celebration; disguise)

Mrs. Auerbach read the story Behind the Mask by Yangsook Choi , about a Korean boy who discovers his grandfather’s Tal (mask used in traditional folk dance) and wears it for Halloween.

Session 2:
We watched a video “Masks of Many Cultures.”

We discussed how masks have the power to transform the wearer, just as the boy in the story sees a mask transform his grandfather into a monster. Finally, we designed our own expressive, thematic masks.


Session 3: The library hosted a Traveling exhibit from the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, containing masks from other countries, including Guatemala, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. Each student completed a “Looking at Objects” worksheet, which included an observation drawing of their group’s mask.

Sessions 4 & 5: We painted and embellished our masks with feathers, ribbons, flowers, etc. Finally, each class participated in a gallery walk, and wrote positive post-it commentaries about two masks in the exhibit.

The grand finale was an assembly program for 2nd & 3rd grades and 3rd grade parents; each 3rd grade class paraded onstage, struck a dramatic pose and proceeded to dance to a different piece of world music. Ms. Grisar told the traditional story of “Why Frog and Snake Cannot Be Friends,” featuring Ms. Auerbach as frog, and Ms. Aalbue as snake. The second graders loved the performance and are looking forward to making their own masks next year! Needless to say, the parents were thrilled to see their dancing artists in action.


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