MEMORY CLOCK – Passage of Time, Pattern, Colour

Students design and construct a 3-dimensional clock box which they use to store written reflections of their favourite moment of the week. At the end of the year they read all of their reflections and use them in an artwork that shows the passage of time.

Required Time

180 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 4 to Grade 8


Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts


crayon resist measurement pattern self-portrait


Crayola Scissors Crayola Watercolour Paints - 24 Count Crayola Crayons - NOT Washable - 24 Count Crayola Paint Brushes Crayola No-Run School Glue Water Containers Paper Towels Large Paper Clips - 8 per student Rulers Light Weight Bristol Board - 29 cm x 29 cm (11 ¾" x 11 ¾") - 1 per student Light Weight Bristol Board - 30.5 cm x 30.5 cm (12" x 12") - 1 per student Plastic Lid about 11.5 cm (4 ½") Diameter - 1 per student

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MEMORY CLOCK – Passage of Time, Pattern, Colour - Step One

Step One

  1. Use crayons to draw patterns over the 30 cm x 30 cm (12" x 12") Bristol board.
  2. Press hard with the crayon.
  3. Paint over the whole paper with watercolours to create a crayon resist design.
MEMORY CLOCK – Passage of Time, Pattern, Colour - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Draw diagonal lines from corner to corner on the back of the Bristol board to make an 'X'. 
  2. Mark the centre of the 'X'.
MEMORY CLOCK – Passage of Time, Pattern, Colour - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Fold all 4 sides of the Bristol board into the centre of the 'X'.
  2. Make sure the outer edge of the Bristol board lines up with the centre of the 'X'.
  3. Make sure you fold all 4 sides into the 'X'.
MEMORY CLOCK – Passage of Time, Pattern, Colour - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Unfold the Bristol board.
  2. Mark a dot at the intersection of the folds in the 4 corners. 
  3. Draw a small arrow along each crease going from the outer edge of the Bristol board to the dot. 
  4. Make sure the arrows are on opposite sides of the Bristol board and facing each other.
  5. Cut along each crease in the direction of the arrow and stop at each dot. 
  6. There should be 4 cuts.
MEMORY CLOCK – Passage of Time, Pattern, Colour - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Place the Bristol board with the painted side facing down.
  2. Fold the sides up and tuck the 2 small flaps in.
  3. Put lots of Washable glue all over the large flap and fold it up to make the box.
  4. Place a large paper clip on both ends of each flap to hold the paper in place until the glue dries.
  5. You should use 4 paper clips on each side of the box.
MEMORY CLOCK – Passage of Time, Pattern, Colour - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Refer to the Proportions of the Face worksheet to help you draw your self-portrait on the clock face. (Downloads - Proportions_Face.pdf)
  2. Use watercolour pencils to paint it.
  3. Remember to fill the background with colour too.
  4. Cut out the clock face.
  5. Glue it to the plastic lid.
MEMORY CLOCK – Passage of Time, Pattern, Colour - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Cut a slot about 7 cm x 1 cm in the side of the decorated box.
  2. This will be the top of the box.
MEMORY CLOCK – Passage of Time, Pattern, Colour - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Use the 29 cm x 29 cm (11.75" x 11.75") piece of Bristol board.
  2. Follow the same steps as you did for the top of the box to make the bottom of the box. 
  3. Put the box together.
  4. Trace the outline of the slot onto the bottom of the box.
  5. Separate the box and cut out the slot.
  6. Put the box together making sure the slots line up.
  7. Tape the box together on the slot side and the side opposite it using clear tape.


MEMORY CLOCK – Passage of Time, Pattern, Colour - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Glue the plastic lid to the top of the box.
  2. Create a pattern with embellishments and glue them around the outer edge of the plastic lid.
  3. Use the clock for reflection throughout the school year.
  4. At the end of each week reflect on the past 7 days.
    - What was the best thing that happened?
    - What stands out in your mind about that event?
  5. Create a small, decorated note that includes the date and answers to these questions.
  6. Place the note into the clock.


MEMORY CLOCK – Passage of Time, Pattern, Colour - Step Ten

Step Ten

  1. Open the clock at the end of the year.
  2. Revisit the memories and think about the passage of time.
  3. Work with the notes you have written to create an artwork that represents the passage of time, for example,
    - place the notes in chronological order
    - share some of the reflections in small groups
    - create a 'Memories' book with the notes as the pages
    - use the notes in a personal collage
    - create a short video using the notes as props
  4. Share your artwork with the class.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a 3-dimensional clock box;
  • create patterns using crayon resist technique;
  • draw a self-portrait;
  • use the clock box to store written reflections;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.


Have students:

  1. Work in weekly groups to arrange the clock boxes as a body of work, for example, 
    - stacked against the wall in a variety of heights
    - photographed with students holding their boxes in front of their faces
    - several small stacks of the boxes in a contained space
    - animated video of the boxes
  2. Write about and/or draw the arrangements in a special journal.


  1. Gather and make available books about the passage of time, for example, Canada Year by Year, by Elizabeth MacLeod, and Sydney Smith; Now You Know Canada: 150 Years of Fascinating Facts, by Doug Lennox; Baseball: Then to WOW!, by The Editors of Sports Illustrated Kids; The Everything Kids' Baseball Book: From Baseball's History to Today's Favorite Players--With Lots of Home Run Fun in Between!, by Greg Jacobs; Shannen and the Dream for a School, by Janet Wilson; and Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family's Journey, by Margriet Ruurs, Nizar Ali Badr, and Falah Raheem.
  2. Download the Colour and Pattern posters available on this website.
  3. Download the Proportions of the Face worksheet available on this website. (Downloads – Proportions_Face.pdf)
  4. Photocopy the clock face pattern, enough for each student. (Downloads – ClockFacePattern.pdf)
  5. Precut Bristol board enough for each student – 1 piece each 20 cm x 20 cm (12" x 12"), 1 piece each 29 cm x 29 cm (11.75" x 11.75")
  6. Provide some time for students to practice using watercolour pencils.
  7. Create a sample clock.


  1. Conduct a read-aloud with one of the books, for example, Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family's Journey focusing on the passage of time and how the story is shaped by highlighting the key events over time. 
  2. Discuss how people choose which events are the most important for them in any given time.
  3. Discuss the idea that memory books, diaries and journals are ways that people use to record their personal histories.
  4. Consider the year ahead and all the important things that will be happening.
  5. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a 3-dimensional clock box.
  2. Create patterns using crayon resist technique.
  3. Draw a self-portrait.
  4. Use the clock box to store written reflections.
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  6. 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,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - measured carefully
    - glued carefully
    - created unique patterns
    - kept the paper in good condition
    - used contrasting colours
    - created a self-portrait that looks like me
    - used coloured pencil techniques effectively
  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 clock boxes are complete ask students to share them in partners or small groups. 
    Ask them to:
    Look closely at the clock boxes and how they are made.
    - Share thoughts about the work.
    - Talk about how pattern, detail and colour are used to create a unique clock box.

    - Talk about what was difficult about making the clock box and explain why.
    - Tell what was satisfying about making the clock box and explain why.
  2. Ask some students to share their ideas with the whole class.
  3. Provide time each week for students to write, and store their reflections in their clock boxes.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their clock boxes – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, holds clock box to the side, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – ClockBox_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – ClockBox_self-assessment.pdf)