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Legendary Dragon

Dragon myths and legends abound in literature from around the world. Depict a Legendary Dragon in a lavish sculpture that brings a magnificent creature almost to life.

  • Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Invite students to explore the different types of dragons in world mythology including Western Dragons, Eastern Dragons, Wyverns, and others. Organize a variety of text and electronic resources for students to view. When research is complete, discuss the unique qualities of each type of dragon. Compare and contrast the literature and history about them.
    2. Students survey various artists’ representations of dragons. Some are depicted with thick, long bodies, scaly skin, four strong legs, two bat-like wings, wedge-shaped heads, and long necks. Some may be serpent-like and breathe fire. Other dragons are shape changers, while some have chameleon power to change the color of their backgrounds. Dragons are sometimes displayed as having a spade or spiked tail. They can be any color, or many colors. Invite students to choose one type of mythical dragon to represent in a detailed sculpture using these ideas and their own imaginations.
    3. Students begin by shaping a basic dragon body armature with crumpled aluminum foil. Use the foil to make the neck, body, and tail. They can build the rest of the body off of this basic form. Cover the whole dragon with a very thin layer of Crayola Model Magic® compound.
    4. Next, students add a head, arms, legs, wings, horns, and anything else imaginable. These features will be covered in scales next.
    5. After the dragons have all of their parts, students cover the bodies with layers of colorful scales. To make scales, roll small Model Magic balls. Press them flat with thumbs. Start at the bottom of an area, such as the tail, and overlap scales going upward until the entire dragon is covered. Colors can be varied.
    6. Add any finishing touches such as eyes and toenails. Use layers or rolls of compound to highlight the wings or other body parts, for example.
    7. If the selected dragon has fiery breath, marbleize yellow and orange Model Magic compound. Pinch out and twist sections with fingers. Place the fire in dragon’s mouth. Model Magic air-dries in about 24 hours.
    8. Display dragons and present classmates with a short written description of the myth in which it appears.
  • Standards

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

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of grade level text's complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.

    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: 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.

    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.

    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 investigate Chinese culture and the important role they play in Chinese customs. How are the Chinese dragons similar to and different from dragons from other cultures?

    Working in small groups, students collaborate to write an original dragon myth from an imaginary culture or time period. Illustrate significant scenes in the story. If students would like to perform their story, ask them to create dragon masks using Crayola Model Magic to wear during the play. Organize a time when students can perform for classmates.

    Teams of two students investigate modern day real-life dragons such as the Komodo dragon. Identify the scientific name for the Komodo dragon, the type of climate and habitat it needs to survive, and what it feeds on. Draw a sketch of the Komodo to include with your organized research.


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