As a Religion teacher I am always looking for high-quality projects that are a nice supplement to the textbook (which, let’s face it – can sometimes be a little dull and not exactly inspiring).
A perfect Lenten project is this beautiful cross made from pre-burned matchsticks. This is not a project I would take on in my Kindergarten classroom – the work is far too tedious for my little kinders. My mom teaches 2nd Grade and she makes these crosses with her students each year during Lent. The burned matchsticks are a reference toward Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins.
Have Parents Burn Matches at Home
Before your students can create a cross, you need to get some pre-burnt matches. This is a homework assignment for the parents. To complete the cross, each child will need a box of 300 matches that have been pre-burnt at home. For safety purposes, I recommend that parents burn the matches outside and store them in a metal pan. (You can speed the process up by striking 2-3 matches at a time). When ashes have cooled, they can be returned to the box. The box can be labeled with the child’s name and sent to school.
|Have Parents Pre-Burn Matches at Home|
This is a very simple project that only requires a few supplies. Each child will need:
a box of 300 matchsticks
a pre-cut cross template (copied onto cardstock)
a pop can tab
The glue can get pretty messy, so I place all materials on a piece of wax paper labeled with the child’s name. The wax paper helps the cross pop easily off after it is dry. Also be prepared to clean up lots of stray pieces of ash. Do this project on a surface that can easily be wiped clean.
The early steps are VERY important in determining how the finished product will turn out. The template has an “X” in the center of the cross. Begin by gluing 4 matchsticks onto the X (with the burnt part on the outside).
Then add a light layer of glue to 1 section of the cross. Begin at the X and work your way toward the outside of that section, using the center line as a guide.
When your first section is finished, add glue to the empty space across from it, begin at the X, and glue matchsticks outward once again.
Continue the process around the rest of the cross, always starting at the X when you begin a new section.
When the cross is complete, let it dry for a few hours. After the glue has set, gently remove it from the wax paper and glue the pop can tab to the top of the underside. This will allow your students to easily hang the cross at home.
Download a Cross Template
Click on the thumbnail to download a template of the cross. Make copies of it on card stock for your students to cut out and use. I used an ivory-colored card stock because it is s similar color to the matchsticks and won’t draw attention to itself if students have some gaps between their matchsticks after gluing.