3. Making and displaying local crafts

When studying a practical topic like craftwork, it is important that your pupils have an opportunity to work with the materials themselves or at least see someone doing the craft.

Case Study 3 shows how one teacher collected clay from beside the river so that her pupils were able to make clay pots of their own. By handling materials and seeing what can be done with them, pupils gain a better insight into the skills needed. If you have access to materials, plan for your pupils to produce their own crafts. These can be displayed in an exhibition for other pupils or parents. With older pupils, you should encourage them to evaluate their crafts – what did they feel went well? What could they improve on next time?

The Key Activity describes how to set up an exhibition of the crafts. This is another way to motivate pupils and to enable them to understand the power of their local crafts better.

Case Study 3: Making pots

Mrs Khendi was teaching a lesson on traditional pots. She started by asking pupils to talk about their experience of traditional pots and utensils. The pupils had some interesting knowledge about their use in the harvest period and at wedding ceremonies and religious festivals. Pupils also spoke about the different pots they knew, such as one to keep bracelets in. While they were talking, Mrs Khendi made a list of the traditional pots on the chalkboard.

Mrs Khendi had brought in a selection of pots that she had collected from people in the community. She told the pupils to bring in any that they had at home to share to see the shapes etc.

Next, she showed them how to make a small pot out of clay that she had collected by the river. She gave each pair some clay to shape a pot and decorate it in any way they liked. She encouraged them to look at the local designs and, from this, develop their own ideas. The pupils’ pots were left to dry at the side of the classroom where everyone could see them. Mrs Khendi was very pleased with their work.

Resource 3: Making pots gives background information.

Key Activity: Setting up an exhibition

  • When your pupils have completed their research on their chosen craft item, invite a local expert in to show them how they make a particular object, e.g. beadwork or carving, so pupils can find out more about why and how they do their craft. Resource 4: Zambian crafts has some good examples.
  • Next, ask your pupils how they would like to present their research and who they would like to present it to. Organise your class into groups who are interested in the same or similar crafts to discuss their ideas.
  • Discuss some of their ideas.
  • Agree a date for this and the venue.
  • Allow each group time to prepare their book, poster, display, demonstration of how to do the craft or oral presentation.
  • Have a rehearsal of the event and ask each group to present their work.
  • On the day, the next class or the school or parents are invited to come and see their work. Each pair/group stands with their work and explains it to visitors. The oral presentations are held after people have looked at the displays etc.

2. Developing research skills

Resource 1: Research questions on traditional tools and implements