KENTE CLOTH STRIPS
Grades: 3-5 | Age: 8-11 | Written by:
Written by: Amy Shapley
[Amy is a teacher]
Students will learn the history of Ghanaian Kente Cloths. Students will practice using geometric shapes to design their own Kente Cloth strips.
What You Need:
What You Do:
- Items for demonstration (Kente strips and fabrics, caps and key rings, etc. using Kente symbolism, pictures, great resource website: http://www.si.edu/nmafa/exhibits/kente/strips.htm)
- 18 x 4 inch strips of good quality white paper
- red, green, blue, black and yellow tempera paint
- water cups and paper towels
- Present lesson:
- What: Kente Cloths, strips of fabric woven by hand in the colors that
Red - Life and Blood
Strips are sewn together to make cloth. Always woven from cotton threads.
Blue - Innocence
Green -Mother Africa, Mother Earth
Black - People and Unity
Gold - Strength and Fortune
- When: Celebrations: Weddings, Births, Graduations, Ceremonies to
bring in new leaders; Whenever you want to respectfully show your African
- Why: To symbolize African culture
- Where: Most examples from Ghana, worn in Africa, America, and wherever
people show African heritage.
Discuss the difference between geometric and organic shapes and lines.
Direct students to design geometric patterns of stripes, squares,
diamonds, triangles, etc. on the paper strips.
Pass out trays of paint, brushes, water cups, and paper towels. Remind
students that the colors are very important in Kente cloth, so they should
do their best to keep the colors clean and not muddied.
When the strips are dry, it is sometimes very effective to use a black marker to outline
the shapes and stripes. It gives the paper an embroidered look. This is
I display these strips on a black paper covered bulletin board with
posters informing the viewer of the history of Kente cloth. Students often
make these types of posters or writings in Social Studies during Black
*Note: This project looks really cool using pieces of colored yarn and glue
instead of paint! Just substitute tagboard for the white paper.
The idea here is not to weave or sew the strips together but rather to display them individually.
This content has been printed from: