SchoolArts Room

What Can You Do with Just Paper, Scissors, and Glue? Lesson 2

By Nancy Walkup, posted on Oct 20, 2010

As I am always looking for new ideas, especially for sculpture, to transcend the simplicity of the most basic art supplies available to most art teachers, I was excited to discover an approach new to me from a district in-service.

Back in class, I changed the size and kind of paper and let my students experiment after they created the basic form. In this lesson, students use two-dimensional pieces of paper to construct three-dimensional forms and then turn them into buildings or other structures of their choice.


The Basic Cube
To make the cube, each student needs twelve pieces of 2" x 4" construction paper. I provided an assortment of colors of precut papers to give students lots of choices.
Step One
Fold each paper in half horizontally. Take four of the folded papers and arrange them with the corners overlapping and with the standing edges on the outside. The form will look like the lid of a box (with an open square in the middle). Glue the four corners together, taking special care to overlap and fit the corners exactly together. Take four more papers and made another "lid" just like the first one.
Step Two
Next, take four more folded papers and fit them into the four corners of one of the lids. The form will now look like an upside down table. Glue the pieces on the inside of the lid with the legs pointing straight up.
Step Three
Now the tricky part: The "table" should still be upside down, with the legs pointing up. Carefully lower the other lid down to fit over the legs. Holding it all in place, turn the cube over on the table. One side at a time, glue the last legs into place.
Step Four
After our first cubes were complete, we talked about the possibilities of what they could become and them students were free to embellish them on their own. I provided scrap boxes of assorted papers and extra building papers for those who wanted them. Some made bird houses, some made dog houses, some combined  theirs with a neighbor's for a collaborative project, some made more than one and put them together. Embellishments included roofs, slides, ladders, chimneys, flowers, porches, and back yards.
In the in-service I attended, tag board cut into wider and longer pieces was used with fifth graders and all the structures were combined into one very large edifice, so you may want to consider that alternative. I taught this lesson in two classes (one to make the first cubes and one to embellish them) to second and third graders with no problem. And we met state-mandated objectives in both art and mathematics, while having a great deal of fun.

This lesson is found in Explorations in Art, Davis Publications, Grade 2.