How to Build the Statue of Liberty for a School Project

Overlap art, math and social studies while helping your students to create a Statue of Liberty model. You can adapt the activity to fit the needs of younger students who are learning about Lady Liberty for the first time to older kids and teens who are working on a more comprehensive or in-depth type of project.

1 Clay Creations

Modeling or air dry clay provides a simple medium for making the Statue of Liberty. Young children, who are just starting to explore three-dimensional shapes, can roll a sphere for the statue's head, cylinders for the arms and a larger-sized oval-type sphere for the body. They can put the shapes together, and then use their fingers or a craft stick and additional clay to sculpt folds in her robe, add facial features, add a torch and place a crown on her head. An older student can try a similar approach, but go into more depth when it comes to the body position, facial features and embellishments.

2 Papier-Mache

The real version of Lady Liberty has an iron and stainless steel skeleton inside of it. Students can make their own versions of this metal armature using craft wire. Have the kids bend and wrap the wire into a Statue of Liberty form. Cut strips of light green construction paper to match the real one's hue. Dip the paper into a papier-mache mixture, coating both sides. You can buy a commercial mix that you blend with water or make your own using a thin layer of school glue and water. Have the students wrap the coated paper strips around the wire.

3 Scale It

The Statue of Liberty is 305 feet, 1 inch tall, according to the National Park Service's website. Add in a math lesson and have the students build the model to scale. Students in the early elementary years can make basic measurements and stick to a simple scale. Older children and teens can make the scale more complex or precise. Choose a scale for the statue and make the measurements necessary to reproduce it. For example, if the scale is 10 feet equals 1 inch, the model will stand a little over 30 inches tall.

4 Creative Construction

Sculpting, molding and modeling aren't the only ways to make a Statue of Liberty project. Students can reuse boxes, bottles, cardboard tubes, plastic containers and other everyday objects and turn them into a creative construction. Tape the items together, or glue them, in the shape of Lady Liberty. Cut pieces out to make details and embellishments. For example, cut triangles from a foam fruit tray to make the crown's points. Drape fabric scraps or painted newspaper around the construction as the statue's robes.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.