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Hands-on History: 3 Simple Diorama Ideas - Compass Classroom Blog

Hands-on History: 3 Simple Diorama Ideas

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America’s history is replete with exciting stories of gallantry, courage, adventure, and sacrifice. Those who see history as a frustrating array of dates and dead people have never had their imaginations captured by history’s grandness and greatness. There are many tools to help capture a child’s imagination and fuel their love of learning history. The one I’ve re-stumbled upon recently is the diorama.

The Purpose of Dioramas

There is nothing quite like seeing the world from another’s perspective. Books, if well- written, can be the gateway to grand adventures. But for those of us tactile or visual learners, seeing and interacting with history in addition to reading about it will forever leave an impression.

The Primary Misconception about Dioramas

Christmas time is when I see the majority of dioramas out and about. Decked in their snow-covered finery, added to and enlarged over the years as one gets money, their sheer size is both awe-inspiring and daunting. THAT is not the diorama of which I speak.

Call me simple. Call me lazy. But I do not have the time or patience for such impressive creations—though I admire those who do! I also do not believe I could hold a child’s interest long enough to actually complete such a project. So allow me to share 3 types of small-scale simple diorama ideas I have tackled over the years.

1) The Triangle Diorama

Hands down the easiest project I’ve ever done. Using only one sheet of paper for the base of the project, it’s easy, it’s fun, and the kids have to get creative to use their small space well. Click here for how to’s on this version.


2) The Shoe Box Diorama

The most traditional diorama known to man! Most of us have done at least one of these for a school project in our lives, if not several. Once again, it’s easy, small and manageable, but in addition there’s the portability factor of being able slap the lid on and take it as a show and tell or to Grandma’s house.

3) The Free Thinker

I call this one the “Free Thinker” because you can literally use whatever you want around the house for this diorama construction: scrap cardboard, egg cartons, Altoids tin, or simply the dining room table! For more ideas, click here.

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