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Tip of the Week – Historical Paper Models

Yes. The title is History Tech and the assumption is that we focus on technology that requires . . . well, electricity. Computers and iPads. Video games and Web 2.0 tools. Online primary sources. Fun gadgets that help kids learn history.

But today we’re going old school.

I got a message a couple of months ago from Kevin Roughton, a teacher out in Riverside, California who’s doing cool stuff. I promptly stashed it in my “That’s awesome, save it for later” file. I was reminded of the message after a conversation I had recently with Keil Hileman, another great teacher who works in DeSoto, Kansas.

Both suggested that one way to engage kids in content is to use historical paper models.

That’s right. Paper. Pencils. Crayons. Scissors. Glue. Scotch tape.

Old school.

There are some very handy sites that allow free downloads of models that kids can print, cut out, color and put together. I’m a big believer in Google SketchUp and virtual models but paper seems like another way to include some hands-on activities as part of your instruction. We often forget how much kids like to use their hands.

A few sites to try:

  • Canon’s Creative Park has almost 50 historical models for download including such things as the Colosseum, the Parthenon and Saint Peter’s.
  • Free Paper Models has a whole list of links to a wide variety of goodies.
  • PaperToys has a smaller selection but includes other things besides buildings such as the Santa Maria.

Technology doesn’t always have to be battery-powered. Give these a shot and let me know how it goes.

Have fun!

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