Pop Up Smiling!

Pop Up Smiling! lesson plan

Students create pop-up books to remind themselves to take good care of those smiles!

  • 1.

    Invite students to contact the American Dental Association to learn more about the latest recommendations to keep teeth and gums healthy. Search for on-line resources, brochures, and magazine articles on the topic, appropriate for the age of the students.

  • 2.

    Allow time for students, working in small groups, to investigate the purpose for each of the ADA's recommendation for oral health.

  • 3.

    To reflect their learning about teeth and gum health, students will plan a pop-up book about the subject. On white paper, use Crayola® Markers to list tips and recommendations to include on each page. Student groups brainstorm how to illustrate each idea with pop-up figures.

  • 4.

    For each page of the book, students fold construction paper in half so the shorter sides meet. Make two cuts with Crayola Scissors into the fold for each pop-up tab. Each cut should go in from the fold one or two inches (2-5 cm). Fold tabs away from fold edge and then open paper and pull tabs through to the open side.

  • 5.

    Draw pop-up figures with markers on construction paper. Cut out each figure. Put Crayola School Glue on each tab and press on figures. Dry.

  • 6.

    Add written text to each page in colorful marker lettering. Writing should reflect learning from the research and interview portion of this dental health activity.

  • 7.

    Arrange pop-up pages in order. Glue the back sides together.

  • 8.

    Fold construction paper around the glued pages and glue to make the front and back cover of the book. Add a title and design the cover with markers.

  • 9.

    Students share their individual books with small groups of classmates. What have they learned about the importance of dental health?


  • LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Participate in shared research and writing projects.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
  • MATH: Solve problems involving measurement and estimation of intervals of time, liquid volumes, and masses of objects.
  • SCI: Construct explanations of how structures in animals serve functions of growth, survival, reproduction, and behavior.
  • SS: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.
  • SS: Identify and describe ways family, groups, and community influence the individual's daily life and personal choices.
  • VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.
  • VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.


  • Possible classroom resources include: ABC Dentist: Healthy Teeth from A to Z by Harriet Ziefert; Open Wide: Tooth School Inside by Laurie Keller.
  • Invite a local dentist or oral hygienist to visit with the class. Prior to the meeting, students compose questions for their guest. After the meeting, students post learning to a class blog.
  • Students sponsor a classroom or school dental health poster contest. For judging the posters, students also develop a rubric with specific criteria. Brainstorm important things that should be included on posters. Display posters in hallways as dental health reminders. The Tooth Book: A Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums by Edward Miller