Instructions for creating the pop-up book
How-To Resources


Almost everything a learner needs to know about how to construct a pop-up page in a pop-up book can be found in the following paperback books. Irvine opens the door and invites us in to explore the mechanics of model building inside the covers of a book or a card. How to Make Pop-Ups and How to Make Super Pop-Ups, by Joan Irvine. There is also an on-line sample of a simple pop-up at

Challenge students to create original paper models. The following website has many many free templates. You will use this site often during this unit so be sure to bookmark it as a favorite.

Let's Book It with tech'knowledge'y


An excellent ready to use slide show is available at

click on "9 types of toys and movable books." This would be a good introductory piece to the learners. Also access the reproducible worksheets when you click on "Toy and Movable Books Sample Worksheets."

Another resource is site for how-to's.
You are encouraged to visit the above site to get a comprehensive overview of the history of pop-up books. Really dig around in the site. Particularly interesting are the menu items on the left side of the screen. Be warned however, it will be hard to resist moving further and further into this website!

History of Pop-Ups

It is interesting that pop-ups have reemerged in the last 25 years as a children’s book feature. In it’s former life, the pop-up was used as a teaching tool to demonstrate complex and layered ideas.

The earliest known examples of such interactive mechanisms actually occurred prior to printing. Work containing volvelles or revolving discs, were used to illustrate a complex philosophical search for truth. The circles were cut out and placed one on top of one another as a simple turning of circles. They illustrated a variety of topics, including natural science, astronomy, mathematics, mysticism, fortune telling, navigation, and medicine.

“Other types of movables, in particular "turn-up" or "lift-the-flap" mechanisms, were in use as early as the fourteenth century. They were especially helpful in books on anatomy, where separate leaves, each featuring a different section of the body, could be hinged together at the top and attached to a page. This technique enabled the viewer to unfold, for instance, multiple depths of a torso, from ribcage to abdomen to spine. One spectacular example of an anatomical movable is Andreas Vesalius' De humani corporis fabrica librorum epitome, printed in Basel in 1543. It features a movable illustration in which the human anatomy is shown in seven detailed superimposed layers.” "Tab pop-up books are easy to make and fabulous to look at. They look three dimensional because the pictures "pop-up" at you as you open the pages! You can make single page pop-up books for short subjects or you can lengthen the book by gluing the pages back to back. The instructions provided are for single page pop-up books."

Now, all that being said...

Constructing this Pop-Up Book

At this point in the lesson, your students have already constructed several movable part pages for their books:

Plate Tectonics

  1. KWL completed
  2. Plate Motions and Boundaries Map
  3. 3-D model of earth layers
  4. Moving Plate Model
  5. Plate Puzzle Poster
  6. Illustrated Cinquain Poem Plate tectonics


  1. KWL completed
  2. Family Emergency Plan
  3. Original page tsunamis, floods, or changes in natural and man-made structures
  4. Illustrated Cinquain Poem Earthquake


  1. KWL Completed
  2. Volcano anatomy Inside a Volcano Model
  3. Original page composite, shield, cinder or other model
  4. Cinquain

Mountain Building

  1. KWL Completed
  2. The Rock Cycle
  3. Mini-book
  4. Cinquain

Putting it all together

  1. Graphic Organizer
  2. Collage
  3. Front Cover
  4. Table of Contents
  5. Dedication Page

Each of those work samples will become pages in their books.

There will be a lot of trial and error in the construction process. Encourage learners to make a prototype of the their page models before making it in final materials.

Binding the Book

When the pages are ready to be bound into a book follow these directions:

Each student will need 3 pieces of 9" x 12" construction or index paper.

  1. Count the number of pages to be included in your book. Divide that number by 2 because those pages will be bound back to back. Sequence your pages in order based on the above list of expected components, plus any other pages you have decided to include.
  2. Depending on the number of pages to be bound, create an accordion fold using construction or index paper that is about 1" longer than the pages. The accordion fold should have the same number of ridges and valleys as there are pages. The ridges of the accordion should be smaller than the outside edge of any mechanism or art work or narrative.
  3. Do not use the first and last valleys because this is where the front and back covers will be placed.
  4. Once all the pages, front and back covers have been placed, secure the binding with glue and set with something like a clothes pin until the glue sets. Usually, overnight allows enough time to dry.
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