Arts in Education · folding

Swing Card for Fifth Graders

elebration Swing Card, condensed
Celebration Swing Card, condensed

I recently spent a short amount of time with a fifth grade class. I wanted to create something dynamic and memorable with them. I knew I’d be meeting with these students during their social studies time, so it made sense to do something that would reference what they’ve been studying in class, which has been the United State Constitution. My thought was to created a moveable card, not exactly a pop-up, that would, hopefully, delight these kids, but that would be pretty straightforward to assemble.

I decided that it would be fitting that the theme of the card would be a Fourth of July Celebration card, celebrating an amendment to the Constitution that the students themselves chose to highlight.

Celebration Swing Card, expanded
Celebration Swing Card, expanded

When you pull the sides of the card out the paper expands and the middle section flips.

It looks like WordPress is going to let me embed a little video of the movement of the card. This is a new feature here in WordPress? If this video doesn’t play for you, let me know. This is the first time I’ve tried to embed a video that isn’t linked to YouTube.

This project may seem, tricky to decipher at first, but it’s actually super simple to construct. It’s something I’ve been meaning to try out for quite a while. I got the template from this book by Trish Witkowski , who is one of my paper-folding heroes. She is one of those people who makes the whole world feel better to me because she’s in it.

I needed to modify Trish’s template to use with my fifth graders, to make it fit on standard copy paper.

Swinging Card Teimplate,
Swinging Card Template, Click here for the PDF

The students just needed to score the dotted lines, cut the solid lines, then fold the scored lines like a zig-zag. The cut-out in the middle swings freely.

If none of that made sense to you, just try it out. You’ll see.

Scoring on the dotted lines
Scoring on the dotted lines

First step is to score the dotted lines. Scoring means to press the lines, not cut them or draw on them, but, instead, to press into the paper. An empty ink pen works well for this. I showed the students that they needed to put a soft surface under the card, so that there’s something soft to press into.

Cutting on the solid line
Cutting on the solid line

Cutting on the solid line was a bit tricky, since there’s no way to start the cut from the edge of the paper. At home I use a craft knife (razor blade) but, obviously, can’t hand out razor blades in schools. Instead, the students curled the paper, made a snip on the curve….

Continuing the cut
Continuing the cut

…then uncurled the paper and continued cutting. Watching these students, who were doing a great job, it was obvious to me that these kids don’t cut with scissors much, so I was doubly happy to be doing this project with them.

In progress
In progress

I think you can make out the zig-zag folding in the photo above.

The students seemed to really like this project. It was fun for me to see that they were super surprised and delighted at how the scoring helped to make the folds fold so easily.

Since we had so little time, I showed them a quick cut paper design method. I call it an exploding paper strip. I give them a paper strip, ask them to a bunch of glue on the back, then they make snips and lay the pieces down in the order they were cut, leaving a little space between the pieces that were cut apart.

Swinger Card Celebrating the Constitution

One last detail: I asked the students to write something personal, something about their own thinking as to why they chose a specific amendment to celebrate.

His Favorite Amendment
His Favorite Amendment

The lines and dotted lines were printed on cover weight (67lb) paper. The writing here is printed on a contrasting color, regular copy weight paper (22lb).

Fun project!




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