I don't know how much explanation these need. We talked about how African cultures use masks for dancing and other social rituals, and how they use bright color.
To make the masks, each student had a 12"x12" piece of thin cardboard, kind of the same stuff that cake boxes are made out of. I have a huge box of hundreds of pieces of this cardboard in my room and it is wonderful! I wish I knew where it came from.
Anyway, each of us cut either one or two narrow triangles about 3" long out of the bottom of the cardboard. Next, we taped the sides of the cardboard together to fill in the missing triangle. This creates a pucker and makes the mask become 3 dimensional...I wish I had a better way to explain that...
We then cut away at the cardboard to shape the masks and covered them with colored paper. We even had some left over painted paper from other projects and that seemed to add a lot of really great texture to the masks as well. We focused on using multiple layers of paper to create dept in the faces.
I loved the way they turned out. Forgive me if I post a ton of pictures, we have 100 2nd graders and there were just too many not to post a lot!