Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Riddle and Mystery: A Program on the Big Questions for Grade 6

Alternate Activity 3: Turtle Shell Art

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Paper plates-two for each participant
  • Narrow-tipped, washable markers in a variety of colors
  • Stapler or tape
  • Newspaper to protect work surfaces
  • Handout 2, Turtle Shell Art

Preparation for Activity

  • Copy Handout 2 for all participants.
  • Set art supplies at work tables.
  • Optional: Search the Internet for "turtle creation myths" and "turtle folktales" to gather examples to briefly share with the group.

Description of Activity

Have youth create paper-plate turtle shells with thoughtful and artistic content and use them to explore the idea of "turtles all the way down." You can have the youth work individually or in pairs.

Show the youth where to get supplies and where to make their turtle shells. Distribute Handout 2 and review the instructions with the group so everyone understands what to do.

When all have finished their turtle shells, let volunteers share with the group. Give special attention to the inside art-the items youth would want in their own turtle-shell homes, and the big questions they think turtles might ask.

If you have time, ask the group to make a turtle tower by stacking all their turtle shells together. Remind them of the story's idea of "turtles all the way down." Lead a discussion with these questions:

  • If it's "turtles all the way down," how many turtles would it take to get all the way down?
  • Why does the story talk about turtles? Why not bears standing on top of each other's shoulders "all the way down?"
  • What animal would you choose if you were writing the story?

Mention that turtles are found in the creation myths and folktales of many cultures; share any examples you have found.