Grade: Elementary
Subject: Art

#2438. Christmas Shadow Boxes

Art, level: Elementary
Posted Fri Nov 23 09:51:08 PST 2001 by Joanne Green (
Harrison, Stockton, CA, USA
Materials Required: about 35 craft sticks, a silk poinsetta, silk leaves, student picture (per child)
Activity Time: two days, about half hour per day
Concepts Taught: Geometry/math

1) Build the box -

Students lay two craft sticks out parallel to each other, the distance of a craft stick length between them. Using white glue, make a "raft" of craft sticks by gluing sticks perpendicular to the original two. Next, build up the sides by laying north/south, then east/west, until the sides are built up to about an inch or so (about 6 - 8 levels) This forms your box and should dry overnight before the next step is begun.

2) Decorate the box.

Students will glue a photo of themselves to the center of the inside box "bottom" (you are decorating the box so that it will hang in a diamond, rather than square, shape.) Glue a silk poinsetta into the inside of the box at the lower corner. Place and glue poinsietta leaves around the sides, sticking through the slats, etc -- so that it is aesthetically pleasing o the child. Thread a string through the slats at the top corner and tie in a loop for hanging.

Kids can continue to decorate in any way they like... glitter, tiny christmas balls, etc. This makes a very attractive Christmas decoration to hang on the wall year after year. (It may be nice to have the child write they year under his or her picture, in fact.)

The kids can do this independently (I teach 6th graders)and the finished work is gorgeous... really a pride-builder. I also use this opportunity to talk about math terms, such as "parallel" and "perpendicular".. and to identify the relationships between square, diamond, and rectangle, and the concepts of a line (the craft stick), a plane (the "raft") and a solid (the box - lid imagined), as well as the concepts of two dimensional vs three dimensional objects.

End result.. the kids had some fun putting abstract concepts t work in a practical way, and the made a lovely holiday gift for their family. Cost...

1 box of 1,000 Craft Sticks--- $2.00
silk poinsettas and leaves (3 "bunches", taken apart and distributed) -- around $9.00

total --- about $11.00 for the whole class (depending on the cost of the silk fowers.)

These supplies can be found in just about any craft store. I'll try and scan one of these boxes so that I can send a pic if anyone would like to see the finished product.