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Magic Hat How-To

Investigate environmental conditions of a desert, rain forest, or high mountain peak; then design a magical hat that transports students to self-selected regions of the world.

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

    1. During a study of the world's geography and climates, invite students to research the climate, flora, and fauna of areas such as the sun-baked Sahara, green Amazon rain forest, or frigid top of Mt. Everest. What do these areas have in common? How do they differ?
    2. Organize students into small groups. Ask each group to collaborate in selecting three areas on the planet where the group might travel to experience different climates, flora, and fauna. Provide time for students to research and agree on the three areas they will "visit" while touring the planet.
    3. With three points of travel identified, provide time for student groups to investigate each point of interest, documenting weather trends, as well as what types of plant and animal life to expect. Challenge groups to find unusual facts about each point of interest, information that would attract a tourist to travel to that location.
    4. Groups organize research into a presentation for classmates. Presentations may be in the form of a PowerPoint, video, or other format agreed upon by teammates. The focus of the presentation is two-fold: 1) to share research with classmates, and 2) to entice classmates/tourists to travel to one or more of their sites for a vacation.
    5. Ask students to imagine a magical hat that could transport people anywhere. Before groups make their presentations, individual students create a "Magic Hat" that will allow them to travel anywhere around the world. In preparation for creating this artwork, students cover their work area with recycled newspaper. Use Crayola® Scissors to cut out the front and back panels of three large brown paper grocery bags. Brown craft paper can be used in place of grocery bags if they are not available.
    6. Spread Crayola School Glue diluted with an equal part of water on one printed panel. Use a small piece of recycled cardboard or a Crayola Paint Brush to spread glue evenly. Top with another panel, add more glue, and continue alternating until all 6 layers are built.
    7. While the panels are still wet, mold the hat over a head-sized bowl (turned upside down), or drape it over your head. Secure the hat shape and size with a large rubber band or masking tape. Stuff the hat with recycled newspaper to dry.
    8. Color and decorate the magical travel hat with Crayola Washable Markers, Crayons, and/or Washable paint, Tempera Paint, and Paint Brushes. For a camouflage look, students may glue on items such as pine cones, sand, or dried grass. Allow to dry overnight.
    9. Now the class is prepared for their travel presentations! Student groups share their researched facts with classmates. During each presentation, individual students rank each point of interest. By the close of all presentations, students will determine personal points of interest where they will be traveling.
    10. Provide time in the school day for individual students to put on their Magic Hats and each announce his selected points of interest. Encourage students to share reasons for their choices, supported by information gained through team presentations.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grade level text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    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: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

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

  • Adaptations

    After examining photographs of various environments, students determine how they would dress to go undetected in a self-selected destination. Prior to creating their camouflage hats, students sketch an environmental scene that they believe they will be arriving in when transported by their hats.

    Small groups of students may choose to investigate similar settings. If so, the group can collaborate to write a play about a camouflage adventure. Students can use recycled materials to create large-scale sets for their play. Present the play to classmates and parents.

    Students select an animal and study its markings used for camouflage. How do these natural markings help the animal survive in its selected habitat? How does the camouflage assist with getting food?


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