How to build a model of the Panama Canal for kids

Written by jeremy cato
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How to build a model of the Panama Canal for kids
The Panama Canal is very important to the shipping industry. (Paso por el canal image by venecosta27 from

For many decades, the Panama Canal has been the most important thoroughfare for large cargo ships travelling through Central America. It provides ships a relatively easy connecting point to travel from the South Atlantic to the South Pacific Ocean and vice versa. This is done through the use of a series of man-made locks that adjust water levels and allow ships to pass through. If you want your child to learn about the Panama Canal, try building this simple model.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Blue poster board
  • Black marker
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Green foamcore board
  • Grey construction paper
  • Small, plastic toy boats
  • Green modelling clay

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  1. 1

    Draw a very large picture of the Panama Canal on the blue poster board with the marker. The picture should extend the length of the poster board and should be about 7.5 (3 inches) wide. To draw the Panama Canal, turn the poster so that the short sides are on the left and right. Draw a long shape that goes straight down about 30 cm (1 foot( then goes diagonal right like an "L to the bottom of the poster. Use the picture provided in the Reyadel website (see Resources) as a guide. Cut this shape out of the poster.

  2. 2

    Glue the large shape of the Panama Canal to the green foamcore board. Cut out six strips from the grey construction paper, each 7.5 cm by 1/2 cm (3 inches by 1/2 inch). Glue these strips to the blue poster cutout of the Panama Canal. These strips represent the locks on the canal; glue them across the canal in the appropriate areas.

  3. 3

    Glue the toy ships to the Panama Canal in various areas. Place several round lumps of green modelling clay on the green foamcore board to represent clumps of trees.

Tips and warnings

  • You can use the remaining blue poster board to cut out other land features important to the Panama Canal, such as the Gatun Lake and the Miraflores Locks and glue these poster pieces to the green foamcore board.

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