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Unknown Soldier Diorama

Honor Unknown Soldiers with a memorial. Make a replica of a landmark tomb or design an original structure.

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

    1. Invite students to research information about tombs for unknown soldiers in countries including Canada, France, the United States, and Australia. Both text and electronic resources should be available for students to view. Students sketch a design for a memorial to an unknown solder with Crayola® Colored Pencils, or use a picture for reference if making a replica of a tomb.
    2. Students cover their work area with recycled newspaper. On white construction paper or watercolor paper, use Crayola Watercolors to create a background or base for your diorama. They might choose a park-like scene with trees and bushes, an open sea, or some other setting. Dry.
    3. Using white Crayola Model Magic, create the structure to honor an unknown soldier. To create a marbled effect, lightly knead color from a Crayola Washable Marker into some white Model Magic. For a granite effect, add marker color and some aquarium gravel. Experiment with creating other stone looks. Dry.
    4. With Crayola Fine Tip Markers, write the inscription found on the tomb on white construction paper. Cut it out with Crayola Scissors. Attach it to the tomb with Crayola School Glue.
    5. On white construction paper, draw details of the memorial. For example, in the U.S. there are three marble slabs found on the Memorial Plaza in front of the Tomb, representing WW II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
    6. Students create a memorial wreath of flowers with Model Magic. To create different colors, rub a marker on it and knead the color into the Model Magic. Continue this process several times to achieve the shade desired. Glue the wreath to a piece of round cardboard
    7. On white construction paper, students sketch and color an honor guard dressed in the style of military uniform worn in the country where the tomb is located. Cut out the guard.
    8. Place a recycled box on its side. Glue the watercolor painting inside the box. Glue the other parts of the memorial in place. Dry.
  • Standards

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

    LA: Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level 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: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.

    SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

    SS: Identify examples of institutions and describe the interactions of people with institutions.

    SS: Explore ways that language, art, music, belief systems, and other cultural elements may facilitate global understanding or lead to misunderstanding.

    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: Describe ways in which the principles and subject matter of other disciplines taught in the school are interrelated with the visual arts.

    VA: Know and compare the characteristics of artworks in various eras and cultures.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Cornerstones of Freedom: Second) by Roger Wachtel; Arlington: The Story of Our Nation's Cemetery by Chris Demarest

    Encourage students to research other memorials to historic figures such as the Washington Monument or Lincoln Memorial. Sculpt the selected memorial using Crayola Model Magic.

    The U.S. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located in Arlington National Cemetery. Students research the history of the ground that Arlington National Cemetery is located on and its history. Organize research into an electronic format for presentation to classmates.


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