Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Sinking of the Titanic - in Legos.

Titanic book report in LEGOs

Matthew's third quarter book report assignment is "True Story."  He could choose any non-fiction, non-biography (that's another quarter's genre) book to read, and then complete a presentation/project from the rubric's list.  He decided he wanted to do the "shoebox thing" project and told us he was going to build the diorama out of Legos. 

Usually with these types of projects, we are elbow-deep in poster paint the night before it is due, and I am muttering "What happened to the good old 'This book was about...I liked it because...' reports?"  I admit, I wasn't looking forward to this project, because just choosing a book took four days. He'd throw topics at me, I'd screen books on Amazon for topic/age bracket, he'd reject them all, and brainstorm a new theme.  Eventually, he settled on a book on the Titanic.  Of course, he was not interested in the ones Amazon had in stock.  He wanted Exploring the Titanic: How the Greatest Ship Ever Lost - Was Found by Robert D. Ballard, out of print and available only through a third party source.  To my surprise, it only took one extra day to arrive, and once it did, he snatched the book up and immediately sat down to read it!  I know he continued to read it, as he has occasionally graced us with random facts about the ship and its sinking.  The time spent choosing a book paid off, but I was concerned that we'd be up late the night before it was due, hoping the paint would dry by morning.

When it was time to build the scene, he disappeared into the basement playroom.  He came back up two hours later with a pretty awesome looking rendition of the Titanic, along with a filled "lifeboat" and a bag of spare parts.  I got out the paint for him, and he painted the inside of a packing box (since nobody has gotten new shoes recently), and assembled his scene, including the SOS signal flare set off by the crew. 

He cut the flaps from three sides, leaving the fourth intact.  This allowed a little more depth of field. so you could see the lifeboat "pulling away" from the Titanic. We also used several different paints, layered together.  Just plain black paint - even after a few coats, left the interior a battleship gray -- not too evocative of an inky winter night.

Dry fitting the ship - you can see how light the background is.

We peeled the stars back off (and stashed on a piece of waxed paper) and added dimension with shimmery blue and silver paint. One benefit to having a homeschooling craft enthusiast for a little brother - we "just happened to have" poster paint, foil star stickers, and metallic pipe cleaners hanging around.

To assemble the box, we used some cloth medical tape tape to seal the holes on the bottom of the Lego, and give the craft glue something to attach to. (Cloth or paper first aid tape is better than regular office tape/packing tape/duct tape etc. because it isn't so slick on top. The tape is slightly porous so it bonds better, yet still is easy enough to peel off when you want to take your project apart.) A little glue on the top side of the tape and into place!

I think he did a great job.  But what impresses me most -- it's not due for two more weeks!  He's taking it to school tomorrow so that small people here doesn't ruin it.  It's the first time he has EVER had something done "far in advance."  Usually "ahead of time" means a one day buffer vs. staying up an hour past bedtime the night before.  I'm so proud of him!!

Titanic Lego Diorama

I'm keeping this picture to put on my real refrigerator, and sharing it with friends.

Virtual Refrigerator Teach Beside Me Heartsforhome


  1. I LOVE this! What a great activity (and I'm not just saying that as a Titanic history buff).

  2. love this! What great imagination! Hopping by from Share it Saturday ; )

  3. This is great! I love anything with LEGO! Good job -- I'm going to share this with my LEGO lover!

  4. you had me at lego! This is fabulous - thanks for linking up to Tactile Tuesday!!

  5. That picture is AWESOME! What a wonderful idea. I'll be sharing with my lego lover too.
    Lucinda (visiting via Tactile Tuesday)

  6. he did well with that. :) my lad would be inspired. :)


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