What better way to end our unit on Ancient China than with a special Chinese New Year celebration? And because 6th graders are of an age that they love bigger challenges, I challenged them to build with me some life size dragons that we could use to parade with in a Chinese New Year celebration being held here on campus.


I love this project because it’s all hands-on and very creative.  We dragged out all the toilet paper rolls,  cereal boxes, empty boxes and canisters, sturdy paper plates, rolls of masking tape, and hot glue guns. Styrofoam balls are great for the eyes.  I provided the students with some color photos of Chinese dragons taken from the internet so they would have some ideals of the coloring and patterns typical of Chinese work.  Students got right to work!  Here you see the head of one dragon. Students used the beach ball to hold the jaw open while it was being constructed.  It was easily deflated and removed later.

back of dragon head

It’s important to leave a hole through the back for students to see through while they are operating the dragon from inside.  After a team of three to four students worked for several hours, the heads were completely constructed. The next step was painting.

Student painting headpaintingpainting

While some students worked on the heads, others laid out 5 feet of  bulletin board paper across the tables and designed the bodies of their dragons.  Students used paint, paper, and their creative ways to come up with colorful designs.

IMG_3382body of dragon is madebody is made


Once the heads were thoroughly dried, the bodies were attached to the back of the heads using Elmer’s glue.  The finished dragons were then laid out across several chairs lined up in a roll.  The following day, students were able to get into the dragons and paraded them around the gym for the Chinese New Year Celebration.  dragon one

Not only were the students able use the dragons for the new year celebration, but they also visited each of the other classrooms of the school.  The Kindergartners really enjoyed their visit.