SANTA ORNAMENT – 2-D and 3-D Shapes

Students apply their mathematics skills to create a 3-dimensional Santa ornament using paper sculpture techniques.

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 2 to Grade 6


Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts


2-dimensional 3-dimensional cone ornament semicircle triangle


Crayola Construction Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Crayola Washable No-Run School Glue Crayola Scissors Googly Eyes Rulers Pipe Cleaners - Red Bamboo Skewers - 1 per small groups to share Cotton Balls Hole Punch String or Ribbon

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SANTA ORNAMENT – 2-D and 3-D Shapes - Step One

Step One

  1. Cut a semicircle with a 22.9 cm base and 11.5 cm radius out of red construction paper. (9" x 4 ½")
  2. Hold the shape with the straight edge facing up.
SANTA ORNAMENT – 2-D and 3-D Shapes - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Curve the ends of the paper over each other.
  2. Twist the paper to make a cone.
  3. Use Crayola Washable Glue to hold the paper in place.
SANTA ORNAMENT – 2-D and 3-D Shapes - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Measure a piece of white construction paper to make a rectangle 2.5 cm x 6 cm (1" x 2 ½"). 
  2. Cut it out.
SANTA ORNAMENT – 2-D and 3-D Shapes - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Glue the rectangle around the top of the cone about 1.5 cm (1/2") from the top of the cone. 
  2. About halfway down the cone poke a bamboo skewer through both sides of the paper to make holes so for the arms.   
SANTA ORNAMENT – 2-D and 3-D Shapes - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Feed a pipe cleaner through the holes to make Santa's arms.
SANTA ORNAMENT – 2-D and 3-D Shapes - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Cut 8 - 10 pieces of white construction paper into .5 cm x 4 cm (½"" x 1½") strips.
  2. Roll the paper strips around a bamboo skewer to make curls for Santa's hair and beard. 
SANTA ORNAMENT – 2-D and 3-D Shapes - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Glue the curled paper onto the cone to make a beard and hair.
  2. Draw a tall, thin triangle with a 4 cm (1.5") base and about 8 cm (3") tall on a piece of red construction paper.
  3. Cut it out to make the hat.
  4. Glue in in place.
  5. Fold the top of the triangle hat over.
SANTA ORNAMENT – 2-D and 3-D Shapes - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Add details to Santa to make your Santa unique, for example, 
    - googly eyes
    - cotton ball trim​
    - gloves
    - buttons
    - belt
  2. Use a hole punch to make a hole through the top of the cone behind Santa's hat. 
  3. Feed through string or ribbon so you can hang your Santa. 

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a 3-dimensional paper ornament;
  • identify and use geometric shapes and paper sculpture techniques to create a unique artwork;
  • explain how 2-dimensional shapes are different than 3-dimensional shapes;
  • express opinions about the artworks.


Have students:

  • find examples of various shapes in their home;
  • create their own character ornaments using different paper shapes;
  • share what they have found with each other.


  1. Gather all materials listed under requirements.
  2. Gather and make available books about different winter celebrations in your class, e.g.,The Santa Claus Book, by Alden Perkes; Santa's Big Night, by Lindsey Scott; Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg; The Night Before Christmas, by Charles Santore; The Story of Hanukkah, by David A. Adler; Latke, the Lucky Dog (Hanukkah), by Ellen Fischer; Maccabee!: The Story of Hanukkah, by Tilda Balsley;  Divali as I knew it in Trinidad, by Nalini Bissambhar - Sankar; Diwali: A Cultural Adventure, by Sana Sood; Diwali! (Amma, Tell Me About), by Bhakti Mathur; Li'l Rabbit's Kwanzaa, by Donna L. Washington; Together for Kwanzaa, by Juwanda G. Ford; and Seven Days Of Kwanzaa, by Angela Shelf Medearis.
  3. Download and display the Shape and Form posters available on this website.
  4. Teach or review characteristics of 2-dimensional, organic and geometric shapes and 3-dimensional, organic and geometric shapes (in art called forms).


  1. Discuss winter celebrations with students. Encourage them to share their own experiences.
  2. List the ways winter celebrations are similar,e.g., light (candles), gifts, special foods, gathering with family and friends, special symbols and colours, legends and stories that are part of the clelbrations.
  3. Conduct a read-aloud with a portion of the book The Santa Claus Book, by Alden Perkes focussing on the ways Santa Claus has been portrayed and why he is such a popular legend.  
  4. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a 3-dimensional cone out of construction paper.
  2. Measure and cut out geometric shapes.
  3. Use the creative process to design a unique Santa with the cone as a base.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - created a unique Santa ornament
    - cut a paper semicircle accurately
    - made a paper cone
    - measured and cut out geometric shapes
    - glued paper details onto a paper cone so they are flat and secure

    - kept the paper in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan. 
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to: 
    - Compare their work and describe to each other what they did to make thier Santa unique.
    - Tell what they like best about their Santa ornament and why.
    - Think of other characters they could make using this paper sculpture technique.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask them to tell how they felt about doing this project.
  5. Create a tree in the class using a fallen or pruned branch from outside. Display the ornaments on your classroom tree.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their ornaments – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas on the ornament, 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. (Download - Santa_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Download - Santa_self-assessment.pdf)