You can find the Italian version here: http://fabuland.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/insegnamento-arte-geomtria-geografia-plastico-della-classe/
I've done this project in a 2nd class (7-8 years old) in 4 weeks, working more or less 4/5 hours a week.
My collegue is teaching the maps, so I helped her doing with our pupils a classroom diorama.
By making this diorama, pupils (aka little ducks) will:
* learn how to take measurements (or at least starting to learn this);
* collaborate for a common goal;
* learn how to copy the reality;
* learn to approximate;
* understand why maps are used (the vision from the ceiling);
* enjoy theirselves a lot!
Step 1: Observe the classroom
Ask them to draw the classroom from the point of view, from where they are sitting in their schooldesks.
You can ask some of these questions:
- What do they see? What they don't see?
- Are the drawings all the same or are they different?
- Do these drawings give a total view of the classroom?
- What should they do to view the entire classroom?
The answer to the last question should be "view it from the top, removing the ceiling". Given that you can't do that, you have to do a diorama :)
I've also put the schooldesks in square and ask my little ducks to draw the wall in front of them.
Let's say that my pupils had done (all by theirselves) a lot of practice building castles ;)
Step 2: Materials
- A big cardboard box, the shape would be more or less the shape of your classroom.
- Boxes in various dimensions
- Paper sheets
- Shissors, cutter, felt-tip, crayon, pencils
There will be some other materials, depending of what you'll be put in your diorama, like modelling clay, little caps, staplers, fabrics, velcro.... use your teacher-fantasy!
Take the measurement of the classroom with the pupils: note that the classroom is a square, or a rectangle, like the box you chose.
Cut the upper lids of the box.
Cut the windows and put a sheet of transparent plastic to make the glass.
Paint the walls or glue some papers to them: given that my classroom is pink the lower part and white over the 1,50 m, and the box was brown, I've done it with white and coloured paper sheets.
Step 3: The floor
I've put the windows-shutter using some paper floded in accordion mode and threaded with some cotton yarn: you can close and open them ;)
Cut the door only on three sides, so it will turn and open and close.
Step 4: Furnish!
Schooldesks are made with little cube made of paper and cardboard. Given Italian schooldesks are litke cubes, I've simply used the dice I've publish on my blog: you can find it here: http://fabuland.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/insegnamento-matematica-cl-1-linea-dei-numeri-da-0-a-10/
Every pupil had one of it and they decorated it with books, pencils case, copybooks and put their name in the front.
If there are cupboards or libraries in you classroom, you can use some boxes to do them, just cover them with paper and draw handles, posters, books and everything there's in them. I've used light yellow paper for cupboard and bookshelf made in ash wood .
I've use the top of a felt-tip cap to do the hi-fi system.
I went on line and printed the maps of Italy and of the World that the kids have coloured.
Used black and brown paperboard to make blackboards, write on them with light crayons.
In my classroom I have some hook for the towels the kids use when they wash their hands, so I put in the diorama a rectangle of paper on which I stappled little fabric rectangles.
We've use a glue cap and some clay to do the plants.
I've done with PC (using Excel/Calc, Paint, Write/Word) an approximate little copy of some of the posters: numbers from 0 to 100, birthdays poster, even the shadows of the cats near the ceiling.
Glue everything, so it won't move when you pick up the diorama. I've used vynilc glue (white glue) and hot glue.
Step 5: Protecting the masterpiece
Take a look at the photos to have an idea of what we have done, you can compare it with the real classroom (photos in the step #1).