Japan – Lesson 5 – Making Paper

Rebecca Smith, Art Instructor, Williamsburg High School, Williamsburg, Pa

Grade Level: 7

Duration: Six Classroom Periods


The objective of this lesson is to teach the students the art of making paper and use it to make a book. This book will include everything they have learned about Japan. This lesson will take 6 days.

PLN strategies used: please do now, active note taking, pair/share class time: 6 classes of 40 minutes

PA Art Standards

9.2.A: Context of Works in the Arts

9.2.B: Chronology of Works in the Arts

9.2.C: Styles and Genre in the Arts

9.2.D: Historical and Cultural Perspectives

9.2.E: Historical and Cultural Impact on Works in the Arts

9.2.F: Vocabulary for Historical and Cultural Context

9.2.G: Geographic regions in the arts

9.1.F: Historical and Cultural Production, Performance and Exhibition

9.4.C: Environmental Influences

9.1.C: Vocabulary Within each Art Form


Procedures day one: Watching the movie on Living Treasures of Japan

  1. Before: 5 minutes. Please Do Now: If you lived on an island, how would you make paper and something to write with? Minimum 5 sentences.
  2. During: 30 minutes. Watch movie on the Living Treasures of Japan. This movie highlights artists who are designated as living treasures for their master skill of a Japanese art form. Ask students to do active note taking on the steps of paper making during this section of the movie.
  3. After: 5 minutes. Ticket out the door: Hands up and discuss the steps in making paper.


This lesson highlights the human and meaning lens with the showing of the movie on living treasures. The students are able to see a person who is a master at paper making demonstrate their craft in the traditional Japanese style. This movie also demonstrates what it means to the people of Japan to have living treasures. The active note taking reinforces their learning by making the students actively engage and pay attention to the movie.

Procedures day two: Demonstration of paper making

  1. Before: 10 minutes. Watch youtube movie on paper making. Ask students to divide into groups of 4 after the movie and make a list of steps in order.
  2. During: 25 minutes. In class demonstration on how to make paper using recycled materials. Students will aid the teacher with the demonstration.
  3. After: 5 minutes. Ticket out the door: The teacher will ask students to bring in some old paper tomorrow. As the students leave, they will tell the teacher what they are going to bring in.


This lesson is a demonstration of the process of making paper. Although no actual reading is involved, the students watch a movie made by past students that shows an in depth retention of knowledge and skill by a past group of seventh graders. This is excellent modeling by peers and motivates the present group of students to do well.

Procedures day three – six: making paper

  1. All class period: Divide the students into groups of 2. Each group will make paper using the methods learned in class. Students will volunteer for setting up and cleaning chores. Each group will take turns until each student has successfully made 3 pieces of paper. Teacher will help as needed.


This lesson focuses on the social and language lens because the students are required to work with each other to make paper. They must cooperate and work together, and must also work with the class to set up the equipment and clean up afterwards. The students enjoy this project and work well together.