This was one of my favorite projects that we have done with 5th grade so far. It took a long time, but I feel that they put a lot of good work into it.
So here goes, we build Retablos, which are small dioramas or panels that usually hold altar peices or information about other important events. They are mostly made by people in Peru.
So, around Thanksgiving time, I asked all of the 5th grade students to start collecting small boxes, about the size of a mini cereal box, jello box, or a bar of soap-box. Then when we had enough for one for each student, we started building.
First, you need to tape up all of the openings of the box with masking tape and then cut two doors out of the "front". After it is open, tape the manufacturers' openings again from the inside to make sure the walls are strong. And if you like, you can add some heavy card-stock to the top of the box to create a nice facade, and cover then entire thing in a layer of masking tape. This reinforces it and also creates a surface that the paint will stick to better than the glossy surface of the box:
Then, the entire box, inside and out needs a coat of gesso. We were on a budget, so we just used white paint. (This student chose not to put a facade on top of his retablo.)
Next, each student was assigned a different significant event from the Revolutionary War. They planned and designed the inside and outside of their boxes. For the figures, we used sculpie clay, which needs to be baked at about 275 degrees for 15 min in an oven. Toaster ovens get hot enough for this, so I ran over to the DI and picked one up for a couple bucks so we could bake them in class.
After everything was baked, it was painted and hot glued into the boxes. The kids loved this project!
The Signing of the Declaration of Independence:
George Washington Crossing the Delaware:
Battle of Bunker Hill:
Paul Revier's Midnight Ride: