CELEBRATION BROOCHES – Colour, Canadian Symbolism

Students explore the idea of cultural symbolism, then use Model Magic on foam core board to create a brooch featuring a Canadian cultural symbol.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Kindergarten to Grade 4


Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts


colour contrast cultural symbol expressive shape symbol


Model Magic Assorted Colours Glitter Glue Embellishments Rolling Pin Brooch Pin Black Foam Core Board 5 cm x 7.6 cm (2" x 3")


CELEBRATION BROOCHES – Colour, Canadian Symbolism - Step One

Step One

  1. Make a rough sketch of your Canadian symbol.
CELEBRATION BROOCHES – Colour, Canadian Symbolism - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Choose the colours of Model Magic you want to use and gather the other things you need to make your brooch.
    - small piece of foam core board
    - toothpick
    - rolling pin
    - brooch pin
CELEBRATION BROOCHES – Colour, Canadian Symbolism - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Press the Model Magic onto the foam core board.
  2. Add details by pressing small pieces of Model Magic onto other parts of your design. It should stick without needing glue.
CELEBRATION BROOCHES – Colour, Canadian Symbolism - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Once you have finished your design, attach a brooch pin to the back of the foam core board. 
CELEBRATION BROOCHES – Colour, Canadian Symbolism - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Add embellishments and/or glitter glue.
  2. Allow the brooch to dry for 2 days.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Design and create a brooch of a Canadian cultural symbol using Model Magic;
  2. Use colour and contrast expressively;
  3. Demonstrate their understanding of cultural symbolism;
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity, and
  5. Support their ideas with evidence found in the works. 


Have students:

  1. Compare cultural symbols from two other countries with those of Canada, and explain how the symbols influence our ideas about those countries.
  2. Compile a set of cards of Canadian cultural symbols and their origins with the symbol on one side, and facts on the other, like baseball or hockey cards.
  3. Create an alphabet book using only Canadian cultural symbols.


  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 and Canadian symbols, 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. 


  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. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Design and create a brooch of a Canadian cultural symbol using Model Magic.
  2. Use colour and contrast expressively.
  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 made up of flat, simple shapes
    - cultural symbol is easy to recognize
    - expressive use of colours
    - careful application of Model Magic
    - brooch in good condition
    - accurately explains why it is a cultural symbol
  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 brooches are complete ask students to share them in partners or small groups. 
    Ask them to:
    Look closely at the designs 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 symbol they chose can be called a cultural symbol, and why they chose it.
    - Tell what was satisfying about making the design and explain why.
  2. Ask some students to share their ideas with the whole class.
  3. Have students wear their brooches and explain their meaning to people they meet throughout the day.


  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. (Download - Canadian_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students reflect on their own artworks in their sketchbooks. Ask students:
    - What worked well in your artwork? Why?                                                                                                                                             
    - What would you change or do differently next time?                                                                                                                                
    - What does your cultural symbol of Canada mean to you?