Jake's Journey Homeschool Science Project: How to Build a Cave Model Diorama from a Cardboard Shoebox

How to Build a Cave Model Diorama from a Cardboard Shoebox and Construction Paper

Here's a Homeschool Science Project on Stalactites and Stalagmites. Make your own cave for a science fair diorama project. Make sure everything is labeled clearly. This was made for a third grade science project for a gifted class, but it is suitable for grades 3-8. Enjoy!

How to Make a Homeschool Science Diorama Model for a Cave Project
Learning about spelunking and cave exploration by building a cave diorama project.
Great model, eh? How is this not art? Jake had a fabulous time designing and crafting this model of a cave for his Homeschool Science portfolio. He enjoyed researching each term, but refused to write them out in a report form. He labeled each item and taped down a descriptive tag, but did not do a report. He despises the art form of handwriting (we are working on this too).

The cave words were particularly intriguing with speleothems (cave formations) and speleologists (scientist who explore caves) ranking at the top of his interest list. All of the spelunking terms are fun to say!

To make a shoebox model diorama like this one you will need:

  • shoe box or cereal box with the face cut off
  • construction paper
  • scissors
  • tape and glue
  • action figures
First, cover the inside of your cardboard box with an appropriate color of paper. Then, cut out cave formations (stalactites and stalagmites) leaving a little extra on the base. Fold this extra down like a flap, and glue or tape it to the top or bottom of your diorama. This makes it stay erect and sturdy.

Research the definition of various cave terms. Type these into a word program leaving several spaces between definitions, so they can be cut out for labels. Attach with tape or glue. This information should also be written into a companion report for your project to work toward an 'A' grade.

In Jake's model you can see the Cave Bacon which is a stalactite hanging from the "ceiling" of the cave. It looks like bacon with the side stripes of color. Cave Eggs cover the floor or ground as Stalagmites. These are round formations with circular rings of pattern. Cave Cauliflower and Soda Straws are pictured above, but you need something to research on your own, so get busy!

How can you remember which is which? Easy! Use this simple memory trick.

stalaCtite - look for the "C" for ceiling of the cave.

stalaGmite - look for the "G" for ground of the cave.

Recommended Reading:

Complete Caving Manual: Spelunking*

Don't Behave Like You Live in a Cave *

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Lora is a homeschooling mom, writer, creator of Kids Creative Chaos, and Director of the Play Connection.