In past years I always had the kids bring in a shoe box to make our Ecosystem Diorama. It was always a rush to find enough empty containers to make the project. We would paint the setting, the room would stink for days, and it would take a long time to complete. This year I didn't have that kind of time, so I used construction paper.
My 8th grade TA is a past student of mine. He's responsible and I'm sure he appreciated prepping the paper for this project. :) At least he is too polite to tell me differently.
He put a kleenex box on a piece of 9 x 12 white construction paper and made a dot on the 4 corners where the box touched the paper. Then he made slits in the paper - a little cut from the corner to the dot.
Then we handed the paper out to the students. They folded the paper up to create a frame. It was at this point that they were able to decide if they wanted a land (forest) ecosystem, or an ocean one. They colored in the background with their crayons (no paint this year).
Then they came over to myself and my TA to staple up the edges. Just a quick staple in the four corners.
We have been using these free workbooks that I received, and inside there was 2 food webs, an ocean and a forest scene.
They cut out the pictures and labels and glued them into their dioramas. Then the kids took a piece of paper and identified producers, prey, predators, herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. They glued it onto the back of their ecosystem boxes.
It was nice turning a big project into something that was less smelly and took less time (since this year we are constantly running out of it).
Hope you have a great day!