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Chinese Lanterns

Learn about Chinese culture, celebrations, and traditional symbolic writing then include characters and images in an original paper lantern decoration.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Students explore the Chinese lunar calendar and its associated animal (2002, horse; 2003, sheep; 2004, monkey; 2005, rooster). Discover how and when the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival is celebrated by Chinese people around the world.
    2. Students find out how to make a few Chinese characters that symbolize words that are meaningful to them. There are more than 47,000 symbols in the language, so use a Chinese speaker, dictionary, or Web site for assistance.
    3. Cover the work surface with recycled newspaper. Paint a Chinese animal figure (perhaps the current year or the one of your birth) on a large rectangular sheet of construction paper using Crayola® Washable Tempera and Paint Brushes.
    4. Paint Chinese characters around the figure. Make characters using different brush angles and pressures. Dry overnight.
    5. Fold the painting in half, lengthwise. On the folded edge, and perpendicular to the fold, cut evenly spaced slits in the painting with Crayola® Scissors. The cuts should end approximately 2 inches (5 cm) before the edge of the paper.
    6. Unfold the painting. Using Crayola® Glue Sticks, glue one of the short sides to the other, creating a cylinder. Spread the slits at the fold, creating a lantern effect.
    7. Attach a handle to the lantern, using a strip of paper and glue stick.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the complexity band proficiently.

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Describe how people create places that reflect ideas, personality, culture, and wants and needs as they design homes, playgrounds, classrooms, and the like.

    SS: Examine the interactions of human beings and their physical environment, the use of land, building of cities, and ecosystem changes in selected locales and regions.

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

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

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

  • Adaptations

    Invite a person who knows the Chinese language to meet with the class and share the written language of the Chinese people. This expert can also provide students with some insight into how to create the symbols. Students each write their names in Chinese by the close of the meeting.

    Students investigate what foods are typically eaten during the Chinese New Year celebration. Students find recipes for these foods and, if possible, make the recipes to share with classmates.

    Students research traditions practiced by the Chinese during their New Year celebrations. Each of the traditions will be summarized in well-written paragraphs. Students will sketch a scene illustrating the traditions. Post tradition sketches and summaries in the classroom.

    Students celebrate the Chinese New Year at the appropriate time of year (at the second new moon following the winter solstice) with a display of their original Chinese lanterns.


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