It was wonderful working with Grade 3 classroom teachers to create an art project. The slideshow above shows the process as well as the finished dioramas. The project was done over 6 weeks taking up 2 afternoons per week.

The goals of the art project were to develop art skills, apply techniques and knowledge from other subject areas and keep the content relevant. Utilizing popular video games as the narrative to create characters and background for the 3D dioramas kept the students engaged. The students worked in groups of three and created their own characters and worked together to create the background. Once completed the students displayed their dioramas in their classroom as students from all over the school did a tour of their work. Those students came in every 15 minutes and saw a projector showing photos of the process while a member of each group would present their project describing the journey from start to finish. With each new group of students group members rotated to present the project. After the project, the grade three students retained the skills they had learned and started to make their own 3D characters without templates. Each background was raffled off in each group and every student kept the characters they made. I also designed a poster for each group so that every student received photos of their project from start to finish. Nintendo TMNT Minecraft Angry Birds Minecraft

The student’s did well with cutting, scoring, folding and putting the characters together.  Working together the children brainstormed creatively to make the backgrounds. Students used any materials they liked to make the background. We started with cardboard boxes as the base and used packing tape to it put together. The classroom teacher or myself did any cutting through thick materials with exacto knives. To create the buildings and platforms, the students covered styrofoam cups, pencil boxes, Kleenex boxes and other thin cardboard boxes with paper and drew on them with felts, pencil crayons or pencils. Pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, tissue paper, construction or coloured paper and sticks from the playground were also used. Students applied the measuring and math skills they learned to accurately cut out paper to cover boxes and cups and to create elements scaled appropriately to their background.

It was very interesting to see how groups of children reached consensus on key elements of their background and the concept as a whole. One group decided to make the background within a computer monitor and keyboard because they play the game on their computer. Whereas another group decided to make a working slingshot to throw their characters just like it is done in the video game.  Then other groups decided to illustrate a level or scene (or combine of certain scenes) from the show or video game. All groups had to make decisions on what part of the background would be flat or 2D and what would be 3D and then what could have a character stand on it or hide behind or underneath. The interactivity of the backgrounds was paramount and one group made a building removable so a character should be hidden in it. The students played with the dioramas frequently.

In terms of presentation, one group decided to have attachable speech bubbles to the background and/or characters to have the diorama speak for itself in the case of it being displayed and a presenter from the group wasn’t available.

In the end the project was exciting and fun. All the students were very happy with their results and confident they can create them again. All templates of characters were from Cubeecraft.com or from Cubeecraft Deviant Art Page.

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