One of our First Grade teachers does a rain forest unit every year in her classroom. Over Spring break, she creates a giant tree in the corner of the classroom. Can you imagine the magic?
As the weeks go by, the students learn all about the rain forest, its animals, bugs and plants. They create different animals, bugs and plants to decorate their tree.
For my contribution to the project, I had the students created tree sloths out of paper mache.
Students started with a basic shape that had been prepped for them by a parent volunteer. To create the body shape, we started with a paper lunch bag that was filled with loosely bunched newspaper. We twisted a section at the bottom of the bag to create the head of the sloth. We taped the bottom closed. We then taped newspaper tubes onto the bags with masking tape for the arms and legs.
The students added layers of paper mache over two class periods(about 30 minutes each time) allowing plenty of drying time in between. Once the paper mache was dry, students painted their sloths gray. They added faces and green paint for moss. They were hung in the tree with fishing line.