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Student Activity: Composite Animals


Much can be learned about a culture and the way they view the world by studying the images they create. Many artworks from various cultures depict imaginary creatures made from a composite of animals. These creatures often have symbolic meanings and represent admired traits, powers, and skills in humans. 

Are your students doing this activity at school or at home?

While this activity was designed for use in the museum, you can follow these suggestions to make students’ experience fun and successful in any learning context.

  • Search for high-quality images of artworks in the museum’s collection. Use these suggested artworks or find some on your own. Images can be printed or viewed online. 

Kuba. Helmet Mask (Mukenga), Late 19th/mid-20th century.

  • If students don’t have internet access, they can look for other objects around them that could help them complete the activity.
  • Have students work together with classmates, family members, or friends to complete the activity and share their creations.

Grade Level: 3-8

Common Core State Standards: SL.1, SL.2, SL.3, SL.4, W.2, W.3


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