Kathryn Kennedy
EDTE 229B- Arts Methods Lesson

Cardboard Tree and Endangered Animals Lesson

As adopted from the book Tree Homes, a Peaches publication

Grade Level: K/1
Time Required: 45 minutes to 1 hour
TOPIC: Cardboard Tree and Endangered Animal Lesson


(Arts Centered)

Artistic Perception- The students will note characteristics of the animal introduced by the teacher. They will apply additional materials or art techniques such as dabbing, short strokes and long strokes, to illustrate or highlight these characteristics.

Creative Expression- Using pattern pieces and other materials which represent characteristics the students noted as prevalent in each animal, the students will create their own paper figure of the animal discussed.

Aesthetic Valuing-The students will discuss similarities and differences between their figures and the live animals. The students will then describe how the art techniques or materials used, aided in making their art animals more "life like." The students will have an opportunity to realize the utility of their art creations, the techniques used in their creation. Therefore, they will increase their understanding of the animal being discussed.

(Integrated Topics)

Environmental Education- In a classroom discussion, the students will give the definition of endangered animals, list one reason why animals are endangered, and list one way of preventing their extinction.

RATIONALE: This lesson provides an opportunity for the children to create an animal figure and its home. Through this lesson, the students will have an opportunity to creatively express themselves, take a non-concrete concept of the animal and transform it into a concrete figure, and value their art as being like the animal–extending their understanding of the animal and increasing appreciation and value of their art.

STRATEGIES: Direct Instruction, Inquiry, and Project.


Endangerment: There aren’t very many of the animals left, and it is possible that unless they are helped, they won’t be around anymore.

Habitat: Where an animal lives. It could be described generally in big terms like in the United States, in California, in a city, or in a country. It can also be described specifically, like in an apartment, in a tent, or in a 2-bedroom house.

Long Strokes: Painting movements that you take your time with. They are big marks made with big arm movements.

Short Strokes: Quick marks that are not very long. They can be made by bending the wrist, rather than moving the whole arm.

Dabbing: Tapping or poking the paint brush. The marks often appear circular (like a circle). It is important to be careful not to crush the bristles of the paint brush while doing this.



Students should be on the floor or in whatever setting ìcircle activitiesî are conducted. The topic will be introduced through a discussion about dinosaurs. The teacher will ask if they are familiar with dinosaurs. The teacher will then ask if dinosaurs exist today. The teacher will inquire if anyone knows why they donít exist today, and what the term is that means they donít exist anymore (extinction). The teacher will then introduce the idea of endangered animals. Duration: 5-10 minutes.

Activity Sequence:

a. After the introductory discussion, the teacher will list some of the animals that are endangered, writing their names on a small white-board (or chalk board). The teacher will then inquire if anyone knows what might make an animal endangered. Suggestions are written on a second white board. The teacher may add other reasons for endangerment on the board. Duration: 5-10 minutes.

b. One of the reasons for endangerment that must be listed is destruction of the animal habitat. With that, the teacher states that we are going to be doing activities about an endangered animal. However, since animals often become endangered because they don’t have a home to live in anymore, we are going to create their home first. *The teacher will already have set up an area set up for painting the materials needed to create the homes. These materials consist of cardboard boxes with holes cut out for "animal access", cardboard rolls (branches), paint & brushes, painting aprons and newspaper (if desired to prevent a mess). If clear packing tape is used on the cardboard boxes, it must be covered with masking tape. This is done because the clear tape does not allow the paint to adhere. Duration: 2-5 minutes.

c. The students will be formed outside, in a semicircle around the materials (they are dismissed by table, group, gender, or clothing color). While excusing the children the teacher should put on a painting apron if desired. The painting area will have groups of materials equal to the number of groups that the children are divided into. The children are often broken into groups by table or work groups (red, yellow and green groups). The teacher will explain that only the outside portion (part that is showing) will need to be painted. The teacher should point to the outside portion and check for comprehension of "outside." The teacher will next indicate the need for all of the outside portion to be painted so that the cardboard doesn't show through. The teacher will then demonstrate several methods/strokes for painting the boxes. They will include long strokes, short strokes, and dabbing. Duration: Approximately 5-10 minutes.

d. After the demonstration, the students will be dressed in painting aprons, and begin painting. The teacher must have a pre-established method for holding the box so that the wet sides are not damaged when painting the final side. Alternatively, s/he may determine that the final side will be completed after class is dismissed and the paint is dry. Duration: 10-20 minutes.

e. Once the children complete their assigned painting they hang their aprons to dry, wash their hands and brushes, and are offered another activity until all the students are finished. In addition, one designated person from each group will bring the paint inside and place in a designated area. Allow the materials to dry then place them in the classroom, stacking them on top of each other and inserting branches if desired (see attached picture of assembly). Glue or heavy duty clear tape may be used to ensure stability. Duration: Approximately 10 minutes.

f. After all the students are done with the house painting activity, the teacher introduces the animal figure lesson. The teacher compiles a list of characteristics of the designated animal from the children, based on the illustrations and information. The teacher then produces several pre-cut parts or paper with outlined parts to be cut out. The teacher demonstrates cutting out the parts (if needed). The teacher then assembles the animal figure, explaining the process as it is completed. The students are excused to their tables, picking up necessary materials on the way. Duration: Approximately 10 minutes.

g. When the children return to their seats, the teacher walks them through making the figure, step by step. It would be useful to already have a large flip pad on the easel with directions and illustrations pre-drawn. First, the teacher has everyone cut out the required pieces (if necessary). Next, the teacher has the children glue the eyes on the owl, using only a dot of glue. This is following by gluing on the tufts, wings and beak. The teacher provides specific gluing instructions; tufts get one small dot, wings get three medium dots, and the beak gets one small line. The children are encouraged to place the items wherever they feel they look best. Upon completion, children are encouraged to add details, texture, coloring, additional folds, or characteristics to their animal. Completed items are placed in a designated drying area and each child cleans up their personal area including scraps, scissors, glue, crayons or other items used. Duration 30-45 minutes.

  1. When all the children have completed their figures, they file through the class having a museum viewing of the animals created.

Duration: 5 minutes.


Once all the children return to their seats, they can discuss what things they observed. They share what they liked and why, as well as how the figures are similar to the live animals. The facts about the animal are then reviewed, making reference to the aides previously used. They will then discuss what they have learned, what endangerment and extinction are, why animals become endangered and other facts they want to share.


a. In group discussions, animal characteristics are listed by the children and are placed on the chart with additional facts produced by the teacher. (AP)

b. Each child will produce a figure for each animal (when present), using all of the cut out pieces. (CE)

c. During the circle time reflection period, students will have a group discussion where at least three similar and different characters between the figures and live animals are noted. (AV)

d. The students will, as a group, produce a definition of endangered animals with at least three causes for endangerment/extinction. (EE)



Multiple sized cardboard boxes and cardboard rolls (T.P. and paper towel rolls)

Knife / scissors for cutting holes in boxes

Hand held white-boards or chalk boards (with pens / chalk) Brown paint, paintbrushes, painting aprons, newspaper Glue or heavy tape (to assemble houses)

Book, song or poem for the endangered animal to be discussed- this

provides a

background while the students work

Illustrations/ visual aides of each endangered animal. Sources include

Zoo books, National Geographic and other publications from agencies dealing with endangered animals. It is important to present these aides in their

Original forms, and not copy them as this may violate copyright issues.

Large flip pad and easel

Animal pattern sheets (enough copies for each child to have one set)

Glue, scissors, crayons, figure accessories and textures


Book/information source on endangered animals.

Reference was Zoobook: Endangered Animals

The address for this publication is Wildlife Education, Ltd., 930 West Washington St., San Diego, CA 92103

*Web-site for list of endangered species: World Conservation Monitoring Center



The children can use their figures in dramatic play.
The children can place their owls in the box homes.