Ideas for School Projects on Culture

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Teach students about different cultures by presenting art projects for them that describe different cultures and ethnicities and their importance. These art projects can be created with basic materials and can be accomplished in the classroom. If you include information about the culture on which the art project is based, children will learn about different cultures of the world while they create a finished art piece.

1 Chinese Letters

Gather materials needed for the project, such as pencils, paintbrushes, black tempera paint and colorful construction paper. Print out examples of the Chinese alphabet so each child has a copy to work with.

Give each child a copy of the Chinese letters and have the children practice writing their names in Chinese using pencils and scrap paper. Talk about how Chinese letters are different than the writing they know. Traditionally, Chinese letters, or symbols, are created using a brush and ink on special paper. Chinese letters are also written and read top to bottom instead of left to right.

Give each child a sheet of construction paper along with a paintbrush and small container of diluted black tempera paint that is the consistency of black ink. Teach students to write their name on colorful construction paper from top to bottom in Chinese letters.

2 Native American Beads

Use self-drying clay to create beautiful beads in the style of Native Americans. Native Americans used shells, bones and rock to create beads to use in their clothing and also for decoration. Sometimes special stones would be used; turquoise, a light blue stone, is used in Native American jewelry to adorn necklaces and bracelets. Native American art and jewelry are often created with animal designs and motifs.

Give each child a small amount of self-hardening clay along with tools to use while working with the clay, such as plastic knives, forks, brushes and toothpicks. Allow each student to create several beads or a special pendant in the style of Native American jewelry using animals as their design influence. Make sure to push holes through beads or create a hole at the top of pendants before allowing the clay to dry.

Use light blue or turquoise paint to finish Native American beads and pendants and use a length of leather to string the beads or pendant into a necklace.

3 African Woven Place Mat

Create a colorful African woven place mat with colorful construction paper, scissors and glue. Traditional African art includes colorful weaving using red, yellow, green, black and white. Woven cloths are worn as adornments for special ceremonies and celebrations.

Fold a piece of 9-inch-by-12-inch of paper in half, bringing the shortest sides together. Cut slits into the paper, making sure to leave a 1-inch boarder around all edges and 1-inch between cuts. Cut 1-inch strips out of colorful construction paper. Open the construction paper and weave strips in and out of the paper. Continue weaving until no more strips can be added into the placemat. Secure the strips around the edges with glue.

Sarah Lipoff has been writing since 2008. She has been published through BabyZone, Parents, Funderstanding and Lipoff has worked as a K-12 art teacher, museum educator and preschool teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Science in K-12 art education from St. Cloud State University.