What is a Diorama? - Definition, Ideas & Examples

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  • 0:02 What Is a Diorama?
  • 0:24 The Many Types of Dioramas
  • 1:27 Not Just in Academics
  • 2:00 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lindy Hatten

Lindy has a M.Ed in TESOL with a Cross-Cultural concentration from Saint Mary's College of California. She has taught for 25 years at the secondary and university levels.

A diorama is often used as a learning tool to help show a student's understanding of a certain subject matter. In reality, a diorama is much more. A diorama is a three-dimensional scene used to creatively express learning.

What Is a Diorama?

Dioramas or 3-D boxes are a part of elementary and secondary school in almost every subject matter. They are an excellent way to merge craft projects and the understanding of the subject. A diorama is a 3-dimensional scene created to illustrate an academic subject, a plot of a story, or an event in history.

The Many Types of Dioramas

There are many ways to create a diorama. Probably the most common is out of a shoe box. A regular sized shoe box works best. The student would simply need tape or glue, construction paper, and a bit of imagination.

Other boxes may also be used. A large pizza box makes a great diorama for a history or geography project. Many students tend to show more of what they have learned about a subject when creativity and crafts are involved. If the student does not have a box that's all right. A diorama can also be created on any flat surface. The important aspect is that the background as well as the main event captures a moment in time.

As a teacher, grading a diorama can be easy and quite fun. I like to make a grading rubric to aid in the grading process. I make sure that it is clear to the students that the diorama should have four or more 3-dimensional objects. The objects are consistent with the setting of the story. I also stress that all background surface area is covered with drawing, clip art, etc. The background should be consistent with the foreground and with the setting of the story. The background also should be neat and colorful.

Not Just in Academics

Museums often have life-sized dioramas to help with understanding historical events. The Museum of Natural History, for example, not only show various dinosaurs and their habitat, but also life-sized buffalo migration.

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