A History of Face Masks

Since the COVID pandemic, face masks have become familiar to all of us.
In this investigation, students will learn how face masks have been used throughout history, all over the world, for all sorts of weird and wonderful reasons.

They will research one mask each, then share their findings as a group and decide how to curate these into a classroom exhibition display piece.

Starter Video Clip - A History of Surgical Masks (6m).
This video could be watched at the start of the lesson.


Student Worksheet: A History of Face Masks
This worksheet provides students with a list of 30+ famous masks from history. Each student is allocated one of these by the teacher or using the interactive random name picker at They research their allocated mask, and use their findings to complete the PowerPoint template (below).

Student PowerPoint Template: A Face Mask from History
This template consists of two slides: one for the title and image of the mask, and one explaining when, where and why it was used. It is very basic but ensures that the display piece contains a consistent style of presentation.



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