3D Models for Science Projects Made With Paper

Updated February 21, 2017

Help students in your science class better understand scientific concepts and principles with handmade three-dimensional projects. Models are appropriate for all realms of science, and don't necessarily need to be expensive; you can use paper to form 3-D models. Don't just have your students make the model. Require them to do research about the subject to ensure they make the model correctly, such as making it to scale.


Create a large 3-D display showing the basic types of volcanoes. Display the different volcanoes side by side so that other students can better understand the differences.

Use basic papier-mâché techniques of combining glue and strips of newspaper to form a shape. Include and label each type of volcano: cinder cone, composite and shield volcano. For example, cinder cones have a large bow-shaped crater in the top and are made from large clumps of lava and ash. Composite volcanoes feature steep sides. Shield volcanoes feature broad, flat sides and look like an upside-down bowl.

Landforms and Weather Patterns

Help students learn about different landforms by making a papier-mâché-covered piece of cardboard showing the differences in landforms of a particular area. For example, have students model his home state, or a state like California or Washington that has diverse landforms including tall mountain ranges and valleys. Paint the model to indicate different heights of landforms, or use colours to indicate lush and dry areas.

Paper Airplanes

Help students better understand the theory of aerodynamics by letting them create different paper-aeroplane models. Let students designs their own aeroplanes, or use the directions from a book or website about paper aeroplanes , and then test their creations outside. Hold a contest to see who can fly her plane the farthest, whose plane has the most complicated design, and whose plane is best at tricks such as loops.

Make DNA Model

Don't think you need to purchase an expensive DNA double-helix model. You can create your own model inexpensively, or have students make their own as part of a science project.

Print out a DNA model template on thick paper and then transfer the template to thin cardboard or poster board. Find a template at the website of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, CSIRO. Cut out the spines and tabs. Fold down the edges of the tabs, and connect the rungs to the spines in the correct order as indicated by the template. Glue the tabs to one side at a time to ensure the glue holds. Hold up the completed double helix or hang it in the classroom.

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About the Author

Lauren Thomason has written professionally since 2011 for online publications such as eHow. She is an avid gardener and crafter, history buff and science experiment fanatic. She holds a Master of Science in elementary education and is pursuing a Doctor of Education from Liberty University.