In Medieval times the Coat of Arms helped to quickly identify which house or land a soldier belonged to. It allowed the men to have a sense of belonging to a certain tribe. The Coat of Arms helped to create genealogies among families. Today many families research and use their family Coat of Arms or family crest. The creation of a Coat of Arms is a great assignment for kids, because it allows them to build a sense of belonging and understand a bit of their family history.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Coloured pencils
- Carbon paper
- Architect's tape
- Writing paper
- Thin board
- Acrylic paint
- Paint brushes
Look at reference photos of different family Coats of Arms. Discuss the images on the Coat of Arms such as trees, animals etc and discuss their meaning with your class. This will help you help your students select the images for their Coat of Arms.
Create four categories for shields; divisions, symbols, colours and motto are the four elements of the shield you'll need to cover. (See the tips for an explanation of each element.)
Instruct students to sketch out some ideas for the shapes of their crests. Help them determine the shield shape at this time as well as what elements they want to use based on the information from the previous step.
Instruct students to draw their final designs on paper.
Help students position each of their drawings so that they are on top of the carbon paper and then tape them down.
Retrace all of the lines of the drawing. Tell students to press hard while tracing their designs onto the carbon paper so that it marks the board.
Remove the carbon paper and the drawing. Make sure that the image is solidly on the board. Students may have to retrace it slightly with the pencil (directly on the board) when they remove their drawings.
Paint your Coat of Arms. Students may need to refer to their reference sketches to remember what colours to select.
Let their crests dry.
Instruct students to write up an explanation of what each element of their Coat of Arms means. If you want to make it fancier, you can write it out on pretty stationary and frame it for them.
Tips and warnings
- Divisions represents how you're going to divide your shield. You can use bars, diagonals, a cross or create your own.
- Symbols are pictures that represent you or some aspect of your family. Common images include animals like horses or lions, objects like castles or swords or something from nature like leaves or branches.
- Colors have symbolic meaning on a Coat of Arms such as red meaning warrior or black representing grief.
- Motto is a statement of beliefs. (See Resources 3 for the translation of common mottoes seen on Coats of Arms.)
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