Finished size 12" x 4½" x 4½"
Easier for children than Project B
This construction paper Noah's Ark model is not made to the scale that God gave Noah, but it is easier to make. (If you prefer to do one that is made to scale, go to Project B.) Lee Kroeger in his "Visual Presentation of Creation" explains how he built a wooden scale model of Noah's Ark. The entire description (including photo) can be found at the website of "Institute for Creation Research." Kroeger says "Using an 18-inch cubit (a minimum size), the Ark was 450 feet long, 45 feet high, and 75 feet wide, with three interior 'stories' and a 'window' on top. Other details are speculative."
The length-to-width scale should be 6 to 1, and the length-to-height ratio should be 10 to 1. (It is interesting to note that shipbuilders today use a 6 to 1 ratio to build ships that can withstand huge storms at sea.) But the proportions of the model made here in Project A are about 2.7 to 1 in both directions--having been designed to use construction paper that is 9" x 12" and 12" x 18". To give students a realistic idea of the relationship between the length and width and the length and height of the Ark, it will be necessary to put 2 of these arks end-to-end and add 3 more inches, and then hide the lower 2" of it in a representation of water. If you prefer scale to ease, do Project B.
Despite these obvious shortcomings, this Noah's Ark model does give children opportunity to construct something more realistic than the ubiquitous little round bobbing tub that cannot even properly hold an old man and a few large animals. This model will also allow children to "load" and "unload" small plastic animals and animal crackers. Therefore, I suggest that the teacher prepare a proportionately accurate model Ark for display purposes (see Project B) and make it clear to the students that it is closer to the truth (although we can only guess at the details such as the size and position of the door and windows, etc). If s/he thinks the students can work with such small measurements s/he should have the students create the same model (Project B) and not try to represent any animals and people. If s/he thinks that students cannot work in such small spaces, or that they would benefit more by "loading" and "unloading" animals, s/he should have the students create the model explained here (Project A).
To save time, I suggest that the teacher prepare the construction paper pieces (and perhaps also mark the cut and fold lines) ahead of time and just have the students assemble them--particularly if the students are young. When I did this project with my class, I used several different colours of construction paper so that the students could have a choice. Most of them made sure that their Ark roofs matched their Arks, but a couple of them went for a multi-coloured model!
You'll find it easier to understand the following instructions if you print off the ark body and ark roof diagrams for reference. These diagrams are for illustrative purposes only; they are not drawn to scale. (Click on each of the pictures to see a larger version or the text links to get a printable PDF version.)
Centre a 4½" x 12" sheet lengthwise on the 12" x 18" sheet and trace around it carefully to draw an equal size box on the larger sheet. Extend the lines that make all sides of the box to the edges of the large sheet. The box will be the bottom floor of the Ark, and the two 4½" x 12" sheets will be the 2nd and 3rd floors.
On both SIDES (not the ends) of the centre box, measure 1¼" from the box and 3" from the box and draw parallel lines to show where the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Ark should be taped in.
Cut the lines on the ENDS (not the sides) of the large sheet to where they meet the corners of the centre box. Using the lines of the centre box as a guide, fold up the flaps thus made and fold up the long sides as well, and you will see how the main body of the Ark model is made. For now, smooth the large sheet down.
Use scotch tape (wide, if possible) to reinforce the paper at the spot where you will cut the Ark's door. This should be at the middle of one side edge (if you want it to match the centre window at the top of the Ark). Make the door by drawing two parallel 2½" lines (about 1¼" from each other) from the edge of the paper and perpendicular to it. Cut the SIDES (but not the end) of the door. Fold down the flap you have made and draw about a dozen parallel lines on the inside so that it represents steps that would allow animals to enter the Ark. (Note that this flap is at once the steps and the door of the Ark.)
Turn the sheet over, and have students draw planks and nails on it to represent the wood on the bottom and sides of the ark. The planks on the back of the steps may be drawn differently to resemble a door when shut, but this is not necessary. Draw planks and nails on one side of the 6½" x 12" sheet to represent the wood on the top part (roof) of the Ark.
To make the top part of the Ark, draw parallel lines lengthwise on the decorated side of the 6½" x 12" sheet. These lines should be measured thus: ½" from each edge, 1½" from each of those lines, and ½" from each of those lines. This will leave a 1½" area in the centre to be the rooftop. In the middle ½" strips, draw small windows at regular intervals, beginning about 2½" in from the ends. Be sure to put one in the centre, directly over the door, for a balanced look if that matters to you. Cut out the windows. You may wish to make "windows" by putting a strip of ½" wide scotch tape on both the inside and the outside of each ½" strip.
To form the top part of the Ark, fold under the first line from the edges, fold up the second line from the edges, and fold under the third line from the edges.
To make the ends of the top part of the Ark, make 1½" cuts into both ends of the middle ½" strips (where the windows are), along both folds. Cut out the 1½" x 1½" squares you have made and reserve them. (You will need them to make a bit of deck to close up the holes at the ends of the Ark.) Fold under the 1½" x ½" strips you have made and then smooth flat again. Tape one square to the opposite side of one of the 1½" x ½" strips from whence it originally came. Now fold in the 1½" x ½" strips so as to form an end wall, and tape in place. Tape the remaining side of the 1½" x 1½" square into place to make a deck. Add a reinforcing piece of tape inside the roof. Repeat the procedure to make the other end.
To assemble the Ark, you must first tape the 2nd and 3rd floors in place--on the long sides only--beginning with the one closest to the bottom of the Ark and with the side opposite the door. Place one long edge of a 4½" x 12" sheet against the line 1¼" from the centre box of the large sheet, and tape that edge in place. Now place one long edge of the other 4½" x 12" sheet against the line 3" from the centre box and tape that edge in place. Now gently pull the lower "floor" toward the opposite wall and place it against the line 1¼" from the centre box of the large sheet, and tape it in place--being sure to avoid taping over the doorway. Gently pull the upper "floor" toward the opposite wall and place it against the line 3" from the centre box, and tape it in place--avoiding the doorway. If you open the door, you should see the two floors in place, with 1¾" between them.
Insert the Ark's top into its body. Beginning with the side opposite the door, match the folded ½" line at one side of the top with the top edge of the body's side. Tape in place, inside and outside. Repeat with the other side--this will require careful attention to make sure it will stay in place! Put your fingers/hands into the open spaces to provide a firm object against which to press the tape into place. A long ruler might come in handy here, as well.
Fold in the side flaps at both ends of the Ark, fold up the middle flap, and tape in place. Then tape the ends of the top and body together. There should be no gaps anywhere, but if there are--tape them.
Make a lesson out of putting animals into the Ark two by two, and then shutting the door. Close the door and add a bit of tape to secure it shut--but not too tightly because it will need to be opened later to let the animals out.
Please read my Noah's Flood article, Part 1 of 3. You can teach information from this in your own words in conjunction with this project.
If you tried this activity, how did it work for you? Would you like to submit an original, easy-for-children activity of your own for use on the website? Send me an e-mail or use a contact form to have your say.