Educator Resources

Mega Molecules—Scientific Sculptures

March 2, 2020
Mega Molecules Art Integration Lesson Plan - Sun Valley Museum of Art

Small groups of students choose a molecule.

Then, individually, students create the elements of the molecule compound using paper manipulation techniques including kirigami and quilling. The individual elements are then combined into one sculpture to create the compound.


  • Students will create an element
  • Students will work together to create a molecule
  • Students will present their work to the class
  • Students will write an artist’s statement

Basic Outline of the Lesson:

  • Introduce of the project
  • Introduce the materials and let students experiment with them
  • Students create sculptures
  • In small groups, students combine sculptures to create molecules
  • Students present their molecules
  • Students write their artist’s statements

Art Supplies:

  • Miscellaneous colored paper
  • Miscellaneous colored card stock
  • Pencils / erasers
  • Rulers
  • Cutting boards
  • X-ACTO knives / blades
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Hot glue guns / glue gun sticks
  • Tape
  • Drawing paper
  • Tag board for presenting molecules

Other Resources:

  • Examples of paper sculptures and how to manipulate paper (kirigami and quilling)
  • Molecule list
  • Slide show to introduce project and related artwork (see outline at the end of the lesson plan)

Mega Molecules Art Integration Lesson Plan - Sun Valley Museum of Art

Idaho State Learning Standards:

Arts and Humanities: Anchor Standard 4: Convey meaning through the presentation/performance/production of an original work or unique interpretation of a work.

  • Objective PR1.1 Combine knowledge and understanding from two or more disciplines to present/perform their original or interpreted works for an audience
  • Objective PR1.2 Convey meaning through their presentation/performance

Physical Sciences: PS1-MS Matter and Its Interactions

  • PS1–MS–1: Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.
    Further Explanation: Emphasis is on developing models of molecules that vary in complexity. Examples of simple molecules could include ammonia and methanol. Examples of extended structures could include sodium chloride or diamonds. Examples of molecular-level models could include drawings, 3D ball and stick structures, or computer representations showing different molecules with different types of atoms.
  • PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter
    Substances are made from different types of atoms, which combine with one another in various ways. Atoms form molecules that range in size from two to thousands of atoms. (PS1-MS-1)

Academic Language:

  • Subject area language: atom, compound, molecule
  • Art language: paper manipulation, quilling, kirigami

Student Use of Vocabulary:

Students will use the words when creating their projects, presenting their molecules and writing their artist statements

Student Grouping:

Students will work in small groups and individually

Mega Molecules Art Integration Lesson Plan - Sun Valley Museum of Art


Funding for this lesson plan was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services [MA-10-19-0563-19].
Additional funding provided by Wendy and Alan Pesky.


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