Chinese New Year Dragon Lesson Plan


To have the class cooperate and work together to build a dragon structure in honor of Chinese New Year

Recommended Ages

Early elementary

Background Information

Chinese New Year centers around the mythology that the beast Nian would come to villages to eat livestock, crops and villagers. Nian was discovered to be afraid of loud noises and the color red and after this the villages were Safe. It is important to incorporate red and the idea that a dragon is scary and loud because of this backstory.


Red paper Plates or white paper plates that have red construction paper glued to them.


Colored Pencils

Construction Paper

Small gold pieces of construction paper



Chinese Symbols for “Happy New Year” and other ones associated with good luck


1. If you don’t have access to red paper plates, glue red construction paper to regular paper plates

2. Cut a hole in the center of each plate


1. Introduce the idea of Chinese New Year and the mythology presented along with it

Part 1: Individual contribution to the Dragon (The Body)

1. Hand out small gold pieces of paper and scissors. Have them use this paper to cut half circle. These are the scales and will then be glued to varying sides of the paper plate. Allow kids to decorate the scales with messages of “happy new year”, if they want.

2. Hand out paper plates, markers, colored pencils and crayons

3. Have each kid further decorate paper plates with messages of good luck, good fortune and a happy new year.

4. Glue scales to the outsides of the paper plates. Put aside and allow to dry.

Part 2: Group Contribution to the Dragon (The Head, Legs and Tail)

1. Divide the class into three groups

2. Assign each group a body part, either it being the head, the legs or the tail.

3. Give a paper plate, construction paper, scissors, glue, colored pencils and markers. Have children attach two legs to two paper plates, a tail to one paper plate and the head to one plate.

4. Allow kids to create their assigned parts of the dragon body. Once things begin to wrap up it is now time to assemble the dragon

Part 3: Assembling the Dragon

1. Collect each body part from the students

2. Roll out a long piece of string and tie a knot at the bottom. Starting with the tail slide the parts of the dragon down the string by using the hole cut in the middle of each plate. Allow for 2-3 inches of space between each body part. Secure each body part by taping the back of the pate to the string. Repeat this process until Dragon body is complete.