Art Up to Code: Maasai: Prompts for Extended Thinking

Art Up to Code: Maasai: Prompts for Extended Thinking

Use these prompts for extended thinking after your Evans DLP session or museum visit to activate creative, critical, and reflective thinking.

Grade Level:
Grades 6-8
Subject Area:
Math, Visual Arts
Activity Type:
Distance Learning

Art Up to Code: Maasai: Prompts for Extended Thinking

Creative Thinking

Looking closely at art can spark our imaginations.   Challenge students to:

Choose a Maasai object below. Click on the image and study it by looking closely at the patterns and colors you see.  Use this object as inspiration for a colorful coded animation or interactive game made with Scratch, Processing, or another coding platform of your choice. Remember to think like a Maasai artist as you create!

Consider the Maasai idea that balance and harmony in life are attained through the interaction of opposites. Maasai artists are careful to balance “dark-strong” colors with “light-weak” colors.  For example, you may see the color pair blue (considered by the Maasai to be dark-strong) and orange (considered to be light-weak) next to one another.  Think about the ways color and pattern are used to create visual excitement. In addition to thinking about variables like color and number of beads, a Maasai artist will also think about how often to repeat (or loop) a pattern.

Critical Thinking

During your Evans DLP session, students looked closely at artwork from the Maasai people of East Africa and the Zulu people of South Africa.  Africa is a large and diverse continent with hundreds of languages and cultural groups.  Invite students to consider these objects made by other African peoples.  As coders, what do your students recognize? What ideas do they have about how these artists may be approaching their work?  What makes them curious?  Use the Looking to Learn: I See I Think I Wonder strategy to frame student inquiry.

Reflective Thinking

Thinking about our experience with art helps us connect to people and ideas across time and place. Ask students to reflect on their Evans DLP visit with one or more of the following prompts.

  • Having spent time with beaded art from Africa at VMFA, what did you discover that you didn’t know before?
  • What did the art NOT answer for you? What are you curious about now that you have seen some of the art of Africa? Name three things that you wish you knew more about and why. Visit your school library and databases to research the answers to your questions.
  • Imagine you could visit with the women who made the objects you saw at the VMFA. Based on what you have seen, what might you ask them to explain to you?  What about YOU would surprise these artists? What ideas about how you create with code would you want to share with them?