THE SUPERHERO IN YOU – Character Traits, Form, Colour

Students use mathematical thinking to design and create a Character Trait shield out of cardboard, and then paint it with acrylic or glitter paint.

Required Time

180 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 4 to Grade 8


Language Arts
Visual Arts


circumference colour concave contrast dry brush form geometric shapes radius


Crayola Washable Glitter Project Paint - 6 Count Crayola Washable No-Run School Glue Crayola Scissors Crayola Acrylic Paint - 6 Count Crayola Paint Brushes - 4 Count Crayola Broad Line Markers - 8 Count Rulers Water Containers Paper Towels Duct Tape Corrugated Cardboard Circles - 35.6 cm (14") Diameter - 1 per student Corrugated Cardboard - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") - 1 piece per student

Shop Crayola Products


THE SUPERHERO IN YOU – Character Traits, Form, Colour - Step One

Step One

  1. Start by gently bending the circumference of the cardboard into the centre.
  2. Make sure the white side is facing up.
  3. Press down on the surface of the cardboard with your fingers to gradually shape the circle into a concave form.
THE SUPERHERO IN YOU – Character Traits, Form, Colour - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Cut along the radius of the circle from the outer edge to the centre.
THE SUPERHERO IN YOU – Character Traits, Form, Colour - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Squeeze glue along one edge of the cut.
  2. Overlap the other edge about 1.5 cm and press the two pieces together.
THE SUPERHERO IN YOU – Character Traits, Form, Colour - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Add a piece of duct tape along the seam to make sure it is very secure.
THE SUPERHERO IN YOU – Character Traits, Form, Colour - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Cut geometric and other shapes out of cardboard.
  2. Use white glue to fasten the shapes to the front of your shield.
  3. Make sure the edges are glued flat.
  4. Allow the glue to dry completely.
THE SUPERHERO IN YOU – Character Traits, Form, Colour - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Cut a strip of cardboard about 6 cm x 27 cm for the handle.
  2. Mark the following measurements along the strip,
    - starting at one end, 4 cm;
    - starting from the 4 cm mark, 5 cm; 
    - starting from the 5 cm mark, 9 cm;
    - starting from the 9 cm mark, 5 cm;
    - starting from the 5 cm mark, 4 cm.
  3. Make right angle folds at each measurement.
THE SUPERHERO IN YOU – Character Traits, Form, Colour - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Use white glue to fasten the handle to the back of the shield.
  2. Add pieces of duct tape over each end to make it extra secure.
THE SUPERHERO IN YOU – Character Traits, Form, Colour - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Paint the shield with contrasting colours and special effects. For example, 
    - Using acrylic paint – Paint the shield with one solid colour. When it is dry, drybrush black and/or metallic paint over it to create contrast and texture. 
    - Using glitter paint – Paint several layers of different colours to add depth and richness to the surface.
  2. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly.
  3. Use a marker to add the names of 10 character traits.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • use mathematical thinking to design and create a character trait shield that includes geometric shapes;
  • use painting techniques to create contrast and texture;
  • analyse superheroes;
  • compare superhero traits with the character traits they learn in school;
  • work collaboratively to solve problems; 
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.


Have students:

  • collaborate in small groups to create a dramatization that demonstrates one of the character traits;
  • use their shields as props in their dramatization;
  • video their performances;
  • share their videos with others.


  1. Gather, and make available, books about superheroes, for example, Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Blood (The New 52), by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang; Superman Reborn (Rebirth), by Dan Jurgens, Peter J. Thomasi and Patrick Gleason; and Batman: Year One, by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli.
  2. Encourage students to choose a superhero book to read and think about prior to beginning this lesson.
  3. Download images of familiar superheroes from the Internet, for example, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
  4. If time permits create a sample shield of your own.
  5. Place students into small groups so they can help each other, and share ideas and materials.


  1. View images of the superheroes and discuss the characters with students.
  2. List the characteristics of each superhero as students share what they know about them. For example, they:
    - have super powers
    - are physically fit
    - have special scientific knowledge, use gadgets, and have a secret identity
    - are brave, responsible, and fair
  3. Ask students to share their favourite superheroes with the class, and tell what they like about that character.
  4. Compare the character traits taught in school with the superhero traits. (Downloads – SuperheroTraits.pdf)
  5. Ask students to explain what a character trait means for them and give an example, and then to tell what it means for a superhero, for example,
    - Respect – I am respectful when I am polite and treat others with consideration. For example, I held the door open for a parent volunteer.
    - Superheroes are respectful when they treat ordinary people with consideration and dignity. For example, Superman helps Jim get a good picture for his newspaper after he missed his chance because he was too slow.
  6. Discuss how superheroes sometimes use various gadgets and shields.
  7. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Use mathematical thinking to design and create a character trait shield that includes geometric shapes.
  2. Use painting techniques to create contrast and texture.
  3. Analyse superheroes.
  4. Compare superhero traits with the character traits you learn in school.
  5. Work collaboratively to solve problems.
  6. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when:
    - my shield is sturdy
    - my design includes geometric shapes
    - I have glued all the edges and shapes flat
    - I have written ten character traits on the front of the shield
    - my painting technique creates contrast
    - my shield is in good condition
    - I can explain how superhero traits and school character traits are similar
    - I can solve problems collaboratively
  3. Encourage students to let their imaginations flow.
  4. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  5. Observe students as they work.
  6. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.
  7. Have students write a message on the back of the shield explaining how they demonstrated one of the character traits while making the shield, for example, “I was frustrated when I had to wait for the glue to dry, but I persevered to make sure I made a really good and strong shield.”


  1. Place students into small groups.
  2. Ask them to share their work and discuss the things that are especially effective and why. Talk about:
    - what they found satisfying about doing this project;
    - what they found challenging about doing this project and how they solved their problems;
    - what character traits they demonstrated as they worked through this project; and
    - how they will use their shield.
  3. Invite 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 shields – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Have students complete a written reflection. Ask them:
    - What worked well in your artwork? What do you see that makes you say that?
    - What would you change or do differently next time?
    - What did you learn about yourself as you worked through this project?
    - What do the Superhero character traits mean to you?
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – Superheroes_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – Superheroes_self-assessment.pdf)