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Diorama Rubric Tips

Instructor: Derek Hughes
Dioramas are a good way to have students synthesize information into a 3D visual project. It is important to use a rubric when grading these projects so that expectations are clear. This lesson will provide some tips for creating a rubric to grade dioramas.

Grading a Diorama

Though I'm sure most, if not all, of the people reading this lesson know what a diorama is, I will provide a short definition. A diorama is a miniature, three-dimensional model, usually created in a box, to depict important events or scenes. These projects can be used to assess student understanding of a wide variety of topics.

However, in order to ensure that the student-produced work is accurately assessing what students know, a rubric should be used to set and grade expectations for dioramas. A rubric is a scale used to assign point values to various aspects of assignments or projects. This lesson will outline several key categories that should be included in a rubric for dioramas, through the use of an example project in a 4th grade classroom.

Charlotte's Web Diorama

Mrs. Jones' fourth grade class just finished reading Charlotte's Web. As a cumulative project, the students were assigned to create a diorama of a scene they felt was important or that they enjoyed the most. In order to ensure that the students were meeting her expectations, Mrs. Jones created a rubric consisting of 4 sections (4 points per section) to help guide students in creating their dioramas.

Accuracy to Source

For the first category of her rubric, Mrs. Jones sets expectations for how accurate the projects are with regard to the source material. For the Charlotte's Web project, student accuracy will be graded on how closely their diorama represents the scene they chose to depict. This section is used to determine if students read the source material closely and understood what they were reading.

To earn a score of 4 in this section, the diorama would need to depict the scene incredibly accurately, including all of the characters and background descriptions. A 3 in this section means that students accurately depicted the scene, but did not seem to go above and beyond expectations. Lower scores for accuracy means that student's dioramas are not accurate and do not represent good comprehension of the material.

Creativity/Effort

The next section of Mrs. Jones' rubric sets expectations for student creativity or effort for the diorama. This section is slightly more subjective than the others, as creativity is an innately objective measure. What Mrs. Jones is looking for in this category is for students to show that they worked hard and thought about what their dioramas should look like and how they can best depict the scene from the book.

As mentioned, this section is subjective, so the score students earn depends on what the finished product looks like. However, generally, a 4 in this category means that students showed immense creativity when creating their dioramas. Lower scores reflect poorer creativity and effort.

Construction

Mrs. Jones likes to evaluate how students' projects are constructed separately from creativity/effort. For this category, students are graded based on how well they put together their project. When setting expectations for construction, Mrs. Jones wants dioramas to be neat and cleanly put together.

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