Step 1: The Individual and Society | Facing History & Ourselves
Facing History & Ourselves
Uniformed high school students write at their desks.

Step 1: The Individual and Society

Students explore their identities through a mask-making project.


English — UK


This resource is intended for educators in the United Kingdom.


About This Assessment

Students will have the opportunity to define themselves visually in this mask-making project. Drawing from their identity charts and journal reflections in the first four lessons, they will select aspects of their identities to highlight on the front of their masks as well as aspects that are often hidden or unknown by others to represent on the back. Sharing their masks with their classmates provides a way for students to celebrate what makes them unique, counter the “single stories” others may have of them, and create a sense of community in which individuals are known beyond superficial labels and assumptions.

Preparing to Teach

A Note to Teachers

Before teaching this assessment, please review the following information to help guide your preparation process.

To prepare for this assessment, you might explain it to students in class and then allow them to collect photographs and images at home that they would like to add to their masks. You will need to provide materials for mask making, including (but not limited to): paper plates, large pieces of paper, coloured paper, glue, scissors, marker pens, magazines.

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Steps for Implementation

Start the project by asking students to review their identity charts and journal entries from this scheme of work. Ask them to identify parts of their identities that everyone knows about, as well as parts that many or most people might not know about.

Then ask them to respond to the following question in their journals:

Why are some parts of our identities more visible than others? What role do our own choices play in determining what other people know about our identities and what they do not? What other factors play a role?

Explain to students that they will be creating masks that represent the aspects of themselves that they show to the outside world and the aspects that others do not often see. Have students brainstorm ideas for their masks by completing the Mask-Making Preparation Worksheet.

Show students the materials they can use for their masks. Inform students that they can decorate both the outside and the inside of the masks. They can use the outside to represent the aspects of their identities they openly show to the outside world and the inside to represent the more private aspects of their identities.

Have students share their masks in a gallery walk or presentation and then respond to the following questions on a class graffiti board: Who am I? Who are we?

Materials and Downloads

Quick Downloads

The handout below is used in this Assessment.

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Facing History & Ourselves is designed for educators who want to help students explore identity, think critically, grow emotionally, act ethically, and participate in civic life. It’s hard work, so we’ve developed some go-to professional learning opportunities to help you along the way.

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