Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Brady's Deciduous Forest Diorama

Brady had to write a report and make a diorama of a deciduous forest - he got to partner with 1 friend. So, they worked 3 days after school and on Saturday last week on this project. They decided to work the last day at our house, as in the day before it's due. Uhhhhh, they hadn't even started the diorama - yeah, don't you love that? ;) So, guess what I had to spend my evening doing yesterday? No time to run to the store, so we used paper for most everything - love the web for graphics! I guess I should have asked how far along the boys were specifically instead of 'how's it going on the project' - yes, way too vague!

What did this diorama look like before this masterpiece? ;) After the other kid's mom ground up coffee for 'fake dirt' - and Brady told me it didn't really work, I told the boys to use real dirt. Brady says where do I get dirt? I look at him and say 'in the yard somewhere'. After I sent him outside, really hoping he picked the 'right' spot to gather some dirt, as in not out of my flower gardens. Then he comes back in and asks 'how should I get the dirt'? I looked at him and said 'use a shovel. . .', boy, no wonder he needed my help - LoL Okay, poor kid - it may be that he can't think when his friends are around - but between the 2 of them and they had to ask how to scoop up dirt? It was funny! But then 'what should we put the dirt in' made my answering voice a little more strained 'in a bucket Brady!' It's amazing I didn't have to send them out again after that to get a pile of dirt!!!
The shoebox was previously lined on the bottom with green paper (which I had to point out to them that forest floors are not grass - I expected them to say 'it's moss' or something, but no, the green paper was indeed representing grass) and glued to that was coffee grinds - for the dirt - it looked like dark sandpaper grit . . . . and was not covering that grass floor very well ;) A corner was cut from the green paper exposing the bottom of the shoebox and they had colored it blue with marker - but there was glue on the bottom of the box, so that didn't really work either. It honestly looked like a 3rd grader had done this - so embarrassing! Brady told me that their diorama looked exactly like the models the teacher had shown them from previous years - how scary! And that none of the examples were to scale. The perfectionist in me would have no part in that! hehe He said the animals were all 1 size and as big as the trees. I would not make a good HS teacher as I would have higher expectations from them and I would probably be laughing out loud at them!!
I found a background of a
forest online and had the boys glue the picture to the back and sides of the shoebox - they did exceptionally well cutting it to size and securing it onto the box. After I printed off paper animals, the other boy had to go home to babysit his sister - so now I was on board as Brady's partner in finishing this project and we had a long ways to go!
We used Epoxy for the water and beans for river rocks, which turned out pretty neat. Fake floral things for the trees, moss and branches/sticks, real dirt and rocks and paper animals. The most painful part (besides how time consuming this became) was cutting out the tiny squirrels and fish to scale using an exacto knife. I cut up pieces of styrofoam to use as a base before gluing the props in & Brady hot glued the bottom of the styrofoam pieces, but just stuck the glued part to the dirt. I had to point out that he needed to glue the pieces to the bottom of the box in order for the glue to do its job. . .oh the things you assume that is common sense and the things that make you wonder where you failed as a parent in teaching a basic principle ;)

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Nathan said...


Rewind back in time and...
Brady = Nathan and Cheri = Nathan's mom
Ah the memories

Cailean said...

Awesome job! I loved dioramas as a kid but this beats any I've ever seen!

Anonymous said...

I'm doing one for school and I decided to use real things as well as fake. I collected twigs that had small leaves attached and used those for trees. I ripped up regular leaves and put it on areas beneath my trees. I found moss outside and put that in my project. I drew the animals on paper then put them on cardboard and cut it out. I painted it afterwards and hot-glued them to the bottom. I put a layer of dirt down afterwards. I used hand sanitizer and food coloring to make the water in rivers.

Jonathan and Cheri said...

Awesome ideas! I bet it turned out amazing =) thanks for sharing.