How To Create Dioramas & Trioramas In The Classroom

diorama activity classroom

Objective: A 3-D way of displaying work, creatively enhancing written details

Ages: 6+

Time: 45 minutes; writing will vary

Grades: 1st +

Materials:

Lesson Instructions

Dioramas

1. Select any size shoe box to cover in construction paper or paper of choice. If not paper, then use tempera paint to cover all sides of the box.

2. When choosing paper, lay the box down on the paper and trace the edges of each side and cut carefully along the lines.

3. Tape or glue the paper to the appropriate sides, pressing firmly. Use a stapler if necessary.

4. Based on the topic you are presenting, will determine how you will decorate the inside/outside of the box. Students can use real artifacts or create their own ‘fillers’.

5. Add a background and characters as needed. Be creative as possible.

TIP: If you have less time for this activity, you can also check out these pre-cut dioramas – comes with the pieces so you just have to put them together!

triorama activity classroom

Trioramas

1. Decide how big you want your triorama, seen above. You may want to use sturdy paper, such as oak tag or poster board.

2. Lay the paper out in a square shape. Use your scissors to cut a slit almost half-way towards the center.

3. Hold opposite sides to overlap the flaps inward until it appears like a triangular shape. Fold along the natural crease and tape/staple the bottom to secure the shape.

4. Decorate your triorama according to the topic. You can design a room, outdoor space, or even attach information using index cards to highlight your favorite character or part of a story.

diorama classroom

Evaluation

Teacher evaluations will differ, depending on what you are looking for. Decide if this project is the culmination of a topic study. Allow each student to creatively enhance their writing based on their ‘topic’ of choice. If your students are researching, assess for correct use of facts. If it is a character sketch/analysis, assess for the appropriate character attributes based on the story or historical figure. If the topic is the ‘main idea’, then assess for the details noted in the story that enhances the main idea. Perhaps your evaluation is ‘presentation skills’, therefore, assess for their literal understanding and delivery, through the use of questions and comments. Try written and oral retells of the subject as well.

classroom lesson plan diorama

Other Ways to Use This Lesson

Any topic can be easily enhanced with the use of dioramas and trioramas. Due to time constraints, you may choose to order ready-made dioramas from S&S Worldwide for various subjects. Remember, this project can inspire students before they research a subject or easily enhance a subject already taught. Your students can retell a story with a beginning, middle and ending. Have them use 3 dioramas/trioramas to create their display. Students can enhance their favorite part of a story or highlight an historical event. Try having your students focus on the ‘setting’ of a story and use descriptive sentences or paragraphs to highlight details. Have the class create a ‘train of events’ and line all the boxes up on the counter, showing the progression of one event after another. Retell a fairytale or display and write about the problem, solution or the lesson learned. Be even more creative and put one box on top of another to show progression of a story or build an element of the story that requires height, like a tree in a rainforest or a castle in a fairytale.

Your writing genres will vary including, but not limited to: research facts, descriptive paragraphs, riddles, story reviews, narratives, informational paragraphs, poetry, biographies and more. Allow for as much creativity as possible and let your students present to their classmates, as well as other age groups. More importantly, have fun!


About the Author:

Kim WaltmireKim Waltmire is a state and national award-winning educator. She holds an honorary seat with the 2006 USA Today All-Star Teacher team. Kim is a graduate from CCSU with a Masters in Early Childhood Education. She published a writing & literacy book; Picturesque Writing, now self-published as The Art of Visual Writing for elementary teachers K-5. Kim also published a Read-Along Series for primary grades, coupled with spelling, grammar, science and social studies lessons for k-12 with a home-school company. Her writing and Project Based Learning strategies were recognized and published in the Creative Classroom Teacher’s magazine; May/June 1998 issue. She was recognized for her educational contributions and Project Based Learning by Oprah Winfrey, interviewed on CNN, Fox News, and honored by the CT State Governor several times. Kim has taught elementary school for 28 years and presently an Educational Literacy Consultant. Kim’s passion is teaching writing literacy for all learning styles.

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