Monday, March 28, 2011

Art Class Lesson Plan- Chinese New Year Dragon Puppets (2nd Grade+)

Chinese New Year Dragon Puppets, Second Grade+

Essential Questions:
How do Americans celebrate holidays?
Why do we celebrate holidays?
What colors do you think of for Christmas?
What colors do you think of for Thanksgiving?

^a sample of a completed Dragon Puppet, folded up for the classroom sample board

A Brief History:
Kung hei fat choi! Chinese New Year is celebrated at the beginning of Spring, which is why it is also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year. The Chinese believe that the old year needs to be chased away so that the new year can come, so they use large dragon puppets that dance to loud noises to scare away the old year and bring in the new. Towns will come together to celebrate Chinese New Year and children will dress up as animals (representing all of the zodiacs for the years- dragons, oxen, etc) and follow a “sorcerer” through the town to bring in the new year. Chinese New Year is not just celebrated in China, but all throughout parts of Asia, including Japan, the Philippines, Korea, and others. In Japan, families will come together and make a wishing tree; they use a plum tree to hang up fortunes and wishes for the new year, hoping that they will come true. Lanterns are a big part of the festivities. Also, they wear the color red on Chinese New Year so that they will scare away bad spirits and bring good luck. They will put items with gold glitter in their homes to attract fortune. Just like we have spring cleaning, the Chinese sweep their homes (sweep towards the door) to invite the good luck in for the new year. They also celebrate with fire crackers and food. Chinese New Year is a great celebration!

^people at a market purchasing items (like lanterns and red envelopes!) for Chinese New Year

For this lesson, you will need:
- Handouts of the Dragon Face Coloring Sheet (one per student, downloadable here this weekend)
- Markers
- Thick Strips of Construction Paper (3" or smaller width by 12" or longer length)
- Popsicle Sticks
- Sequins
- Scissors
- Glue Sticks
- Hot Glue Gun (adults only!)

Students with their dragon puppets!


1. Pick out a dragon coloring sheet
2. Color in the sheet using markers
3. When you're done coloring, use scissors to cut around the face of the dragon & to cut out the tail of the dragon
4. Take two 12" (or longer) strips of construction paper and line them up like the letter "L" (the two wide ends touching exactly at a 90 degree angle)
5. Fold the bottom piece of paper in the "L" shape over the top to create another 90 degree angle
6. Keep doing this with both sheets of paper until you have an accordion-style fold that can be compressed into a square
7. Fold the tail in half (the tip of the tail should fold) & fold the rectangles at the base of the tail in a 90 degree angle
8. Use a glue stick to keep the tail from unfolding (glue the inside of the tail fold)
9. Using a glue stick, glue one side of the accordion square (the end fold) and attach the head to it
10. Use a glue stick to attach the dragon's tail to the other end of the accordion paper, making sure that the tail faces up and not down
11. Let an adult hot glue popsicle sticks to the dragon: one just behind the face, and one just before the tail. This allows the dragon to pop out and become longer or shorten, depending on how far away the popsicle sticks are from one another
12. Add glitter or sequins to embellish!

Key terms for this lesson:
Color, Pattern, Fold, Cut, Balance, Dragon, Embellishment, Craftsmanship, In the Round, Puppet

- Make a wishing tree for your classroom, where students can hang up their wishes for the new year!

- Have students create paper lanterns to decorate the classroom with!

(Note: you can view the work of some contemporary Asian artists here!)

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