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Build the Great Wall

Imagine building a replica of the Great Wall of China! Start with one section and add to it all year as you learn more about this immense country.

  • Grade 6
    Grades 7 and 8
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. The Great Wall of China is one of the most remarkable structures ever built. It runs from East to West across the country for 4,163 miles (6,700 km). The Great Wall was built by thousands of people in many small, unconnected sections for protection against invaders. The walls were joined after the unification of China, under the Qin Dynasty Emperor Qin Shihuang. The Great Wall of China is now a favorite tourist attraction. Have students research more about how it was built and what it looks like. Have students build the Great Wall as a team!
    2. To make a model of a section of the Great Wall, students will draw rocks on construction paper with Crayola Twistables®. For a textured effect, students could do crayon rubbings.
    3. Students cut the rock paper to fit empty tissue boxes with Crayola Scissors. Glue it to the boxes with Crayola School Glue. Place the boxes in a meandering line. Join sections with rock-decorated paper.
    4. People can walk on the fortified walkway on top of the Great Wall, where they can see miles of the countryside. Cover the boxes with paper decorated with Crayola Twistables® to resemble this path.
    5. With Crayola Model Magic, create stone borders for both sides of the walkway. Air-dry the borders overnight. Glue them in place. Air-dry the glue.
    6. Use Neon Model Magic to create a dramatic landscape. To create large mountains, for example, begin with an armature of aluminum foil to provide a firm, lightweight foundation. Build your mountain on top of it. Arrange the landscape and glue pieces in place. Air-dry the glue.
    7. Students share how it might feel to be walking the Great Wall!
  • Standards

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

    LA: Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

    LA: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.

    SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.

    SS: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.

    SS: Give examples of how government does or does not provide for the needs and wants of people, establish order and security, and manage conflict.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

    VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

    VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.

  • Adaptations

    Students research the Qin Dynasty and the invasion o the Huns, which precipitated the unification of The Great Wall of China. Students organize their research into an interview format and videotape the "interview" for future viewing. This can become a center in the classroom.

    Students research the diverse people who participated in the building of The Great Wall of China. What is the history? What are the cultural connections between these peoples?

    Invite a local community member who has visited The Great Wall to speak with the class. Prior to the expert's visit, have students compose interview questions that they would like addressed. After the visit, have students post to a class blog about new learnings.

    Students create a hand-drawn map of China, using Crayola Colored Pencils. Identify significant cities and villages in the country. Map the location of the Great Wall. Post as a classroom bulletin board and add information to the map as the unit of study continues.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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