3-D Media

Sculpture is about translating ideas into forms in space.  It is a work of art that stands up, and can be viewed from all sides.  Students make sculptures out of clay, paper, papier-mache, recycled cardboard containers, pipe cleaners, and wire.  Paper can stand up, bend, fold, and connect, and paper shapes can vary in infinite ways.  Papier-mache forms need to be built from the inside out.  Cardboard containers have to be attached and balanced so they won’t fall apart.  Pipe cleaners and wire can be lines that bend and move in space.  Students discover and learn effective construction techniques for each material that they explore.  The challenge is for students to figure out their own ways to use the properties of each material in their sculptures.


Three-dimensional design:

  •  What is a sculpture?
  •  Where will you put your pipe cleaners on your sculpture?
  • How will you attach bumpy paper shapes?
  • Will you make parts connect to each other?



  • How can you make paper stand up?

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Papier-Mache Exploration:

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First Grade

  • How can you make paper stand up?

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  • What parts and shapes do you need to make for an animal?

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  • What kind of place can you build with a person in it?

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Making Tubes/STEAM:

  • What parts does a butterfly have?
  • How can you build a butterfly body?
  • What shapes will you cut for the wings, antennae, and legs?
  • How can you attach all the parts?


Form and Structure:

  •  How can you use cardboard tubes, pieces of egg cartons, and corrugated cardboard to build a sculpture?
  •  How will you make your sculpture stable?
  • How can you use colored tape, index cards, hole-punchers, and markers to add to your sculpture?




Papier-Mache Form and Structure/Collaboration:

  • How can you use cardboard tubes, pieces of egg cartons, and corrugated cardboard to build forms for a dinosaur habitat?
  • How will you make your sculpture stable?
  • How will you combine all of your ideas in your group?
  • When you add papier-mache, will you make each form a different color, or will it all be the same color?
  •  Will you use solid colors, or will you make patterns and designs with the colored paper?

Observation Drawing/Adding Dinosaurs:

  •  Where do you see big parts on your dinosaur ?
  • Where do you see small parts?
  • Where will you draw big and small shapes?
  • Where will you need to draw bumpy lines?
  • Where will you draw smooth lines?

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Wood Sculpture:

  • What can you build by combining different pieces of wood?

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Second Grade


  •  What are some ways that you know how to make the paper stand up?
  •  How can you support a really tall piece of paper?
  •  Where will you make parts connect?

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  • Where do you like to hide?
  • Which parts of your sculpture will be standing up?
  •  Will we be able to see all of you, or just some parts?


Figure/ground and Gesture:

  • Where do you like to read?
  • How can you show the person holding a book?
  • Do you like to sit up, lie on your back, or lie on your stomach when you read?

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STEAM Project:

  • What parts does a flower have?
  • How will you make your flower stand up?
  • What else can you add to help pollinate the garden?


Papier-Mache Animals:

  •  What kinds of animal or vehicles can we build with newspaper and tape?
  •  What parts does your animal have?
  •  What kinds of newspaper forms will you need to add to make those parts?
  •  What color or colors of paper do you need to use for your animal’s skin?
  • What kind of place will you build for your sculpture?

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Third Grade

Corrugated Paper:

  •  What can the bumpy paper be in your sculpture?
  •  How will you make sure it stands up?

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Structure and support:

  •  What do you like to climb on?
  •  How will you make your structure stand up?
  •  Where will you be on your sculpture?

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Papier-Mache Puppets:

  • What kind of puppet character will you build?
  • Will it be funny, scary, weird, fantastic?
  • What kinds of newspaper forms do you need to build to make your character’s head and face?

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3O Puppet Skits 2017

3K Puppet Skit Videos 2016

A Short How To Video

Fourth Grade

Structure and Support:

  •  What can you build that will be both tall and strong?
  •  What kind of characters will be part of your sculpture?

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Moving Parts:

  • How can you make moving parts on your paper sculpture?

Click on the links below to see students’ videos of sculptures with moving parts:

4B Moving Parts 2016

4L Moving Parts 2016

4W Moving Parts 20216

Form, Structure, and Surface/Papier-Mache Foil and Tissue Paper Creatures:

  • What kind of mythical creature will you build?
  • What kind of form do you need to build for each part?
  • How will you connect all the parts?
  • What color tissue paper will you use for each part?
  • How can you use the wet tissue paper to make textures on your creature?

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Fifth Grade

Whole Class Collaboration: Amusement Park

  • What can you build that goes in an amusement park?
  • What part of your piece moves?
  • How does it move?
  • What is your person doing?


5A Amusement Park 2016

5G Amusement Park 2016

5L Amusement Park

5W Amusement Park 2016


All-School K-5 Collaboration: Paper sculpture Community

  • What is a community?
  • What kinds of things do we need in our community?
  • What will you add to the community?

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