Dioramas: Complete Educational Pain In Three Dimensions

One of the marvels of modern education is the development of the diorama.

First, let me clarify for anyone over the age of 50, that a diorama, while similar, is not the same thing as diarrhea.  Both are painful and hideous in nature, but a diorama requires a great deal more of a parent's attention.

The diorama is defined as a partially three-dimensional, full-size replica or scale model of a landscape.  It typically shows historical events, nature scenes or cityscapes, for purposes of education or entertainment.

It allows Johnny to use his creativity to express his knowledge, or lack thereof, on any given subject.  He may know squat about the Civil War, for example, but he can surely glue down a dozen Lego men with rifles onto a piece of cardboard.

To make a diorama, you will need first and foremost, a shoe box.  It helps considerably if you start collecting these even before your children are born, as you will be needing at least 20 boxes per year, per child.

The second step in developing your diorama involves a trip to your junk drawer and a little imagination. 

Marbles serve as cannon balls, shoelaces as snakes, and virtually any size cork can be whittled down to represent Abraham Lincoln's head.

Some parents, I mean students, get really fancy and create extensive dioramas that have real rivers (water pump included) and authentic fires that light up via the technological advances of The Clapper.  Any project demonstrating animation of any kind is a guaranteed A.

The final and most difficult step in diorama creation is adhesion.

Some items refuse to cooperate, no matter how much hot glue is applied.  In these cases, it helps to simply lace floral wire around the object and into a hole you have drilled through the bottom of the box (and subsequently through your leg).  This can be especially tedious if, at the same time, you're trying to flip the TV channels back and forth between "American Idol" and "The Biggest Loser."  This task can be accomplished, however, with a little blood loss and a tetanus shot.

I know you're feeling overwhelmed, but try to think positively.  Once you've completed, rather, once the child has completed 100 or so of these so called educational models, you...rather, your child...will be more than prepared to create his 8th grade science fair project.  We can discuss this at a later date.

As for now, I have an appointment with an 11-year-old who needs to brave a snow storm in order to collect samples of arborvitae, evergreen cypress and holly for a deciduous biome.

Have mercy.  We'll probably have to show George Washington chopping down a cherry tree.

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