CANADA 150 – Symbolism, Form, Balance

Students reflect on personal Canadian memories and use Model Magic to create a 3-dimensional artwork to celebrate Canada 150. 

Required Time

75 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 6


Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts


balance cultural symbol form symbolism


Crayola Model Magic Glitter Glue Shish Kebab Skewers Small Clay Pot Rolling Pin Maple Leaf Cookie Cutter (and other shapes) Floral Foam Floral Pot Filler White Glue Scissors Markers


CANADA 150 – Symbolism, Form, Balance - Step One

Step One

  1. Brainstorm a web of things that make you think of Canada.  
CANADA 150 – Symbolism, Form, Balance - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Decide how many objects you want to use in your arrangement.
  2. Roll out the Model Magic to a thickness of about .75 cm.
  3. Cut out 2 maple leaf shapes for each single skewer you intend to use.
  4. Place the skewer on the centre of the maple leaf making sure it reaches the top.
  5. Gently press the skewer into the Model Magic. 
CANADA 150 – Symbolism, Form, Balance - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Place the second maple leaf on top of the first one to make a sandwich of the 2 shapes with the skewer inside.
  2. Gently press the two leafs together with your fingers.
  3. Lightly roll over the two leafs with the rolling pin.
  4. Place the maple leaf skewer on a flat surface and allow it to dry for 2 days.
  5. Repeat this process for any other shapes you intend to use.
CANADA 150 – Symbolism, Form, Balance - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Create new colours of Model Magic by mixing primary colours together. For example, to make brown mix red, yellow and blue together. 
  2. If you are using white Model Magic, you can colour it by poking a small piece of it with Crayola Original markers and gently kneading the colour into it. 
  3. Create Model Magic symbols to represent your chosen Canadian memories.
  4. Stick the symbols to the maple leaf.  
  5. You may want to add glitter glue to the finished design. 
CANADA 150 – Symbolism, Form, Balance - Step Five

Step Five

  1. You may want to paint the clay pot with tempera paint.
  2. Use scissors to cut the floral foam so it will to fit into the clay pot.
  3. Place the floral foam into the pot.
CANADA 150 – Symbolism, Form, Balance - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Use Crayola Washable glue to fasten plant pot filler on top of the floral foam.
  2. Stick the skewers into the floral foam in the center of the pot.
  3. Be sure to push the skewers right down to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Place the skewers so they are balanced and lead your eye in and around the arrangement.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Use Model Magic to create a 3-dimensional artwork to celebrate Canada 150;
  2. Use placement of objects to create balance;
  3. Demonstrate their understanding of cultural symbolism;
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; and
  5. Support their ideas with evidence found in the works. 


  1. Have students discuss other ways they might celebrate Canada’s 150.
  2. Provide opportunities for students to create other art pieces that reflect on personal experience. For example,
    All About Me




  1. Download images of Canadian symbols from the Internet, for example,
    Maple Leaf
    Leaf Symbol
    Inuksuk Symbol
    Beaver Symbol
    Moose Symbol
    Hockey Symbol
  2. Gather and make available books about Canada, Canadian symbols and celebrations, for example, A Northern Alphabet, by Ted Harrison The Inuksuk Book, by Mary Wallace; An Inuksuk Means Welcome, by Mary Wallace; Z Is For Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet, by Matt Napier; ABC of Canada, by Kim Bellefontaine; Oh Canada!, by Per-Henrik Gürth; M Is For Moose: A Charles Pachter Alphabet, by Charles Pachter; Canada Counts: A Charles Pachter Counting Book, by Charles Pachter; I'm in Charge of Celebrations, by Byrd Baylor; The Keeping Quilt, by Patricia Polacco.
  3. Download the Form poster available on this website.
  4. Gather all the materials required for this lesson.


  1. Read one of the picture books about Canada and discuss how the illustrator chose images to represent ideas and how they represent Canada.  
  2. Explain that these are cultural symbols. Cultural symbols are found in countries all around the world. They represent something that people in that country feel is important about the country, or part of the country.
  3. Brainstorm as a class, symbols that people in Canada find meaningful, for example,
    - Inuksuk
    - Beaver
    - Maple Leaf
    - Moose
    - Hockey
    - Polar Bear
    - Canadian Flag
  4. Discuss why these symbols are used to represent Canada and what they mean.
  5. Show students some images comparing actual objects with the way artists have changed them into symbols, for example, the maple leaf. Discuss how they are different and how they are the same, for example,
    - images of symbols are often flat, simple shapes
    - images of symbols are easy to recognize
    - images of symbols often use symmetry in the design
  6. Discuss celebrations and different ways people celebrate special events, especially birthdays.
  7. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Use Model Magic to create a 3-dimensional artwork to celebrate Canada 150.
  2. Use placement of objects to create balance.
  3. Demonstrate your understanding of cultural symbolism.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the works. 

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    design is made up of flat, simple shapes
    - cultural symbols are easy to recognize
    - placement of objects is balanced
    - careful application of Model Magic
    - accurately explains why designs are cultural symbols
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work.
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Once all the pots are complete ask students to share them in partners or small groups. 
    Ask them to:
    Look closely at the arrangements and how they are made.
    - Share thoughts about the work.
    - Talk about how simple shapes and contrasting colours contribute to the effectiveness of the designs.

    - Explain why the symbols they chose can be called cultural symbols, and why they chose them.
    - Tell what was satisfying about making the arrangement and explain why.
  2. Ask some students to share their ideas with the whole class.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  2. Observe students as they discuss the art works – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Pot_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to reflect on their work. (Downloads - Pot_self-assessment.pdf, PotPrimary.pdf)