Headgear: scheme of work

The activities outlined below can either be used together to form a unit of work or as a series of discrete activities enabling the theme to be explored in greater depth.

With particular reference to examples from the Arab world and Middle East, students will explore the theme of headgear.

A Langdon School student's headgear project artwork


Discover the Arab World image cards - Headgear: pdf (1444 kb)
- Page from The Wonders of Creation and the Oddities of Existence
- Poster of Yasser Arafat
- Tiles showing Saladin and Richard I
- Stone relief of the siege of Lachish
- Stone memorial for Tamma
- Details from the Blacas ewer
- Hands of Fatima
- Embroidered dress
- Umm Kulthum
- Brooch with coin of the emperor Philip I
- Bataille des Pyramides

Hats and headgear presentation: pdf (3 Mb)
See the further resources section for other useful websites and support materials

Optional: find online examples of keffiyeh headcloths and other examples of headgear

Materials: mixed fabrics, flexible card, wire, pens for paper and fabric, glue


In this unit, students will:

  • create their own piece of headgear from a variety of materials that makes a personal statement about themselves and their lives
  • reflect on the form and function of headgear
  • learn to appreciate the significance of headgear within Arab, Middle Eastern and other cultural traditions


Look at the Poster of Yasser Arafat and discuss the different ways that headcloths or keffiyeh can be worn.

Use the Headgear presentation to discuss the nature of headgear and show students the examples from different cultures and traditions. Describe the characteristic features and discuss the form, function and significance of each type of headgear – ceremonial, religious, fashion, status, protective, etc. Talk about the influences of diverse cultures on our lives and lifestyles.

Introduce the unit task – students are to develop a piece of headgear that makes a personal statement about themselves and their lives.

Activity 1

Using the Discover the Arab World image cards, internet and other resources, ask the pupils to research different types of headgear from a variety of periods, places and cultures. They should record the characteristics of a number of different styles in their sketchbooks and make notes about the styles, and their purpose and function.

Activity 2

Ask the students to bring in keffiyeh and other types of headgear. They can model the headgear, experimenting with different angles and combinations, and take digital images to record the process. They should print out and annotate the images, drawing out the characteristics that they found stylish or were attracted to.

Activity 3

Ask the students to use their research into headgear to rough out different design ideas to create their own piece. Using different fabrics and other basic materials, show them how to create simple 2D headgear mockups in their sketchbooks.

Activity 4

Discuss what the students have discovered about headgear and the significance of different designs. Look again at the Poster of Yasser Arafat and talk about the significance of his headcloth and how it became a symbol of Palestinian identity. Remind the students about the unit task to develop their own piece of headgear. Ask them to bring in items and images that reflect their lives and family history and to make sketches to create a final design.

Activity 5

Demonstrate techniques for constructing and decorating different types of headgear using, for example, cut out card strengthened with wire to form a basic structure. Show the students how to modify this by wrapping or draping fabric and adding objects, or other forms of decoration to achieve the effect they require.


Once they have completed the work, the students should write up and evaluate the process, explaining the significance of their headgear piece.