Building History

Cardboard was the supporting fabrication material used by fourth grader Cole Irion in his Mission San Gabriel Arcángel model.
Cardboard was the supporting fabrication material used by fourth grader Cole Irion in his Mission San Gabriel Arcángel model. Special to Sierra Star

What do Rice Krispies treats, cardboard, marshmallows, frosting, lasagna noodles and popsicle sticks have in common? All were used as building materials by Wasuma Elementary School fourth graders to create replicas of various California missions, a part of the social studies curriculum across the state.

A showcase of the replicas and accompanying brochures by Elaine Alger’s fourth graders was presented to families, friends and schoolmates.

Lali Cervantes Rosas pulled the top layer from some corrugated cardboard to create a tile roof and used fish tank charcoal for a pathway to her replica of the Basilica San Diego de Alcala.

In contrast, Play-Doh, paint, real flowers and Legos were used by Braydon Metzger who built a replica of the same mission.

Likenesses of the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Carmelo were built by Tristan Reden whose model included a door fashioned from wood mirroring the door found on the actual mission and Brooklyn Hester who used styrofoam building material. She visited the mission in Carmel where Father Junipero Serra is buried.

Mariella Brock used a kit to build her replica of San Luis Obispo. She added a slate path using pieces of rock she “found outside and my dad cut it,” she said.

Cameron Dundon-Land visited the mission at San Luis Obispo twice gathering inspiration for his model. He found tiny little oranges online to complete the orange trees on the grounds of his model. “There are little rooms inside,” he explained even though his roof covered them up.

Cody Alshire visited San Juan Bautista. He estimated it took four hours to build his mission from popsicle sticks and cloth and Seth Altimus created a display of photographs he took while visiting San Miguel Arcangel. Natalee Castonguay’s replica of Santa Ines took two days to build.

Walls of frosting and marshmallows were used by Jonah Smock. “I ate a lot of it,” he said. Hershey’s chocolate/caramel bells and rectangles of Hershey’s chocolate bars were used for the doors on his San Francisco de Asis mission.

The aroma of cake and icing could not be missed approaching Ian Palsgaard’s Santa Clara de Asis mission. He and his grandma baked a cake from scratch then Twizzlers were added for details and Sour Patch Kids for people. Lacey Archer also used edible elements for the San José mission modeling the edifice from Rice Krispies treats. Painted lasagna noodles topped her mission.

Cienna Diffey used foam, paper and plastic in building her mission San Buenaventura while Kya Lemire added miniature tombstones complete with birth and death dates of people actually buried at the Santa Barbara mission. William Gutierrez created a clay fountain for his Nuestra Senora de la Soledad mission and used rosemary for a palm tree and a chenille towel for grass.

Andrew Chancey included a tiny barnyard and a fountain with water of curled blue ribbon for his replica of La Purisima Concepcion.

Bits of green tissue paper added realism to trees crafted by Samuel Ponce for his Santa Cruz mission. Twigs placed vertically next to his mission created a fence for barnyard animals and a pond.

Ashley Lechuga used foam board to create San Juan Bautista and hot glue was an integral building tool for Kaitlyn Chastain who built San Rafael Arcangel.

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