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Fall Harvest Cornucopia

Create a festive fall decoration with 3-D paper sculptures of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Fill your horn of plenty with symbols of local produce for an Earth-friendly display.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Ask students what the colors of the fall harvest? Do you see orange carrots and pumpkins, purple eggplant and grapes, green squash, yellow corn, and red beets? Which crops are grown locally? From where are the others shipped? Rather than use real food as a decoration, students create an imaginative paper cornucopia and help save natural resources!
    2. Cover the art area with recycled newspaper. Blend Crayola Fingerpaint to make a rich fall palette or colors. To make the cornucopia, paint one side of a paper plate. Use your fingers to make a basket-weave design. Set it aside to dry.
    3. Cover watercolor papers with an array of autumn harvest colors. Paint all sides of a few lunch bags as well, to become pumpkins or beets. Create texture with your fingers and thumbnail scratches. Make variegated colors for realism. Students will share the decorated paper with classmates.
    4. After the paper plate is dry, flip it over and paint the other side. Again, create a basket-weave design with fingers. Air-dry the paintings.
    5. To assemble the cornucopia, cut a slit from the edge of the paper plate into its center. Slide one side of the slit under the other to create a cone. Glue the edges. Air-dry the glue.
    6. Tear, cut, roll, and/or crumple your painted papers into familiar fruits and vegetables. Here are a few ideas. To make carrots, roll orange paper into a tight cone. Twist strips of green paper together for leaves. Glue together.
    7. To make beets or pumpkins, stuff recycled paper into painted lunch bags. Twist or tear green or brown papers to form vines and leaves. Scrunch up small bits of paper and glue them together for a bunch of grapes. Roll green or yellow paper into squash shapes and glue tight.
    8. To hold the twisted shapes together and give them a polished look, brush them with a glaze of equal parts water and glue. Add Glitter Glue highlights to each paper sculpture. Air-dry the glue.
    9. Assemble the cornucopia filled with nature’s abundance. Present it as a "thank you" gift to a teacher family member.
  • Standards

    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: Identify the reasons and evidence a speaker provides to support particular points.

    LA: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade level reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

    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: Identify and describe ways family, groups, and community influence the individual's daily life and personal choices.

    SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Know the differences among visual characteristics and purposes of art in order to convey ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: By the Light of the Harvest Moon by Harriet Ziefert; Fall Harvest (Preparing for Winter) by Gail Saunders Smith; Fall Harvests: Bringing in Food (Cloverleaf Books - Fall's Here! by Martha E. H. Rustad

    Invite a local farmer to visit with the class to discuss his career in farming and crops that are grown locally. What determines which crops are grown? What planning goes into successfully running a farm? After the visit, students post learning to a class blog.

    If possible, organize a field trip to a local farm where fruits and vegetables are grown. Allow students to smell, touch, and taste the crops. Discuss why it is Earth-friendly to eat locally grown produce.

    Encourage students to investigate fruits and vegetables that are typically found in other seasons of the year, such as corn on the cob or strawberries. Have students research why these items are not locally produced year-round.


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