In the Clasroom: Chinese Dragons

The rain a few weeks ago brought dragons to our little museum and we were inspired by this pin on Pinterest to create another one. Today we will be showing you how to make a dragon out of a tissue box.  But first, here's a little background information on Chinese dragons.

In China, dragons are good luck, not the menacing creatures they have been portrayed to be in American or Western culture.  Dragons are often associated with rain and wind.  They breathe mist or water, instead of fire, which help crops grow.  For this reason, it is said that dragons go dormant in the Fall and Winter (when crops die) and reemerge in the Spring and Summer (when crops grow). Things might be a little different here in  Southern California where we typically have our rainy season in the Winter! During droughts people often pray for dragons to come.

Fun facts about Chinese dragons:
1. Chinese dragons have 117 scales.
2. Chinese dragons have a life cycle like frogs or butterflies.  It takes nearly 3,000 years for dragons to grow wings.
3. In the the Disney movie "Pete's Dragon", the dragon is loosely based on a Chinese dragon. Chinese dragons have the head of a camel, the face of a rabbit (or demon), the ears of a cow, horns like the antlers of a stag, the neck of a snake, the belly of a clam, the soles of its feet are like a tiger, and the claws of an eagle. (On a personal note, "Pete's Dragon" was one of my favorite movies growing up.  I didn't make the connection between Chinese dragons and Pete's dragon until I started working at SDCHM. Now I can't get the song "It's Not Easy" out of my head!)

This week's activity: Tissue Box Dragons

Some very good teachers I know are also very good hoarders (in a good way!).  I used to have a ton of paper towel rolls, scrap paper, and tissue boxes in my classroom.  Save these things.  You'll need these "treasures" for this and some of our other upcoming projects.

tissue boxes (smaller square ones work best) - one per child
scrap paper - white copy paper and/or colored construction paper
tape or glue sticks
a hole punch (optional to make nostrils)
curling ribbon (optional)
markers, crayons, or paint to decorate

1. Close your eyes and imagine your dragon.  Remember what you have just learned about dragons.  Their heads look like a camel and their faces look like a rabbit.
2. Draw a picture of your dragon on a piece of scrap paper.
3. Cover your tissue box with scrap paper and secure with tape.  Use crayons, markers, or paint to add scales and make it colorful.
4. Optional: Tape ribbon on either side our your tissue box with tape.
5. On a separate piece of paper, draw the eyes for the dragon.  Cut out and attach to the tissue box.  (I propped mine up with some paper and tape in the back to make my dragon's eyes stick up.)
7.  On a separate piece of paper, draw two ears (like a cow's) and a pair of antlers (like a stag's).  Color them.  Cut them out. Tape to the back of your tissue box.
6. On another piece of paper, draw two rows of teeth.  Cut out and tape inside your box.  (Note: This is tricky!  Students may need help with this step.)
7. Voila!  You have made your very own dragon.  Keep it some where special to bring you good luck.

- Laura

Did you learn something from this post?  Please pass it on to your favorite classroom teacher or colleague!

Do you have a fun fact about dragons to share?  Or did you try this project in your classroom?  Post your fun facts or photos on our Facebook page.  We love to hear from you!


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