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Deck the Halls

December is upon us and with that brings excitement about the holidays ahead.  My students always express an interest in making holiday crafts and decorations this time of year.  I struggle with maintaining a balance between the integrity of my subject and my students' excitement about making paper chains and other "less-than-thought-provoking" activites! It can be a hard balance to find.

I am looking to develop strategies to fit both requirements and I have found two activites that do double-duty in my classroom. I show my students how to make a 3-dimensional Paper Snowflake and a Paper Box. They both require thought, care, and the ability to follow extensive step-by-step directions (which are skills that I believe all of my students can benefit from). However, the skills and strategies that my students learn in these activities continue to resurface months later.  I have found that as we work and build 3-dimensionally (long after the holiday season has passed) my students use the strategies they have developed, when finding solutions to challanges of giving volume, structure and stability to sculptures and design prototypes!

As my students make the decorations and gift boxes that they are so excited to create, I make sure that they have an opportunity to think about and discuss the potential for how these skills can help them in future projects.

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