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Students Cast Egyptian Masks
Sierra View sixth grader Kassidy Houck helps cast the mask on classmate Andrea Marins face for their Egyptian mask project. - photo by COURTESY OF AMANDA HENSLEY

Sixth grade students at Sierra View Elementary School recently made mummy masks of their own faces as a project for their unit of study on ancient Egypt.

“Students have been studying the ancient Egyptians’ mummification process and have learned that masks were important because they protected a mummy’s face, acted as a substitute head in case the mummy’s real head was damaged, and that a person’s spirit, called the ‘ba,’ needed to be able to recognize its mummy when it returned to the tomb,” explained sixth grade teacher Amanda Hensley.

The students worked in partners and used plaster gauze to cover each other’s faces. Hensley noted that the process is similar to how a cast is formed when a person breaks their arm.

“You get the plaster gauze wet and then it can be easily formed and molded to the shape of the face,” she said.

Once the masks were dry, they were spray painted gold. The students later hand-painted features on their masks such as eyes, lips, and eyebrows. They also colored headdresses with a pattern of their choosing. The headdresses were then glued to the masks and decorated with glitter as the final step before being displayed in the classroom.