Shoe Monster: Grades 3-8 or Ages 7-12

LESSON TITLE: Shoe Monsters
TEACHER NAME: Jennifer Schupak
GRADE LEVEL: 3rd – 8th
CLASS TIME: _44_Minutes _1_Days/week _1_# Session(s)

Learning Standards:
25.A.2d, 25.B.2, 26.A.2f, 26.B.2d, 27.B.2

Integrated Subjects:
History, Social Studies



  • Using texture, the student will create imaginary monsters.
  • Students will also learn about the African American inventor Jan Earnst Matzeliger

What You Need:

  • 9×12 white drawing paper
  • crayons
  • scissors
  • large sheet of craft paper
  • oil crayons

What You Do:

  1. Begin with a short discussion on texture. (what is texture?)
  2. Students will then hear a short history about Jan Matzeliger*
  3. Students will make a texture rubbing of the bottom of their shoe.
  4. Next, add details to the rubbing to create a monster. (add eyes, arms, legs, teeth, horns, etc…)
  5. Cut out the monsters, being careful not to cut off details that were added.
  6. Divide class into at least two groups. Student’s will now create an environment for their monsters.
  7. Glue monsters a piece of construction paper.
  8. Use oil crayons to complete the monsters’ world. (regular crayons can be substituted)

I plan on displaying these in the hallways. My students and I really enjoyed this project.

Jan Matzeliger 1852-1889

Jan Matzeliger developed a shoe lasting machine that would attach the sole to the shoe in one minute.

Jan Matzeliger was born in Paramaribo, Dutch Guiana in 1852. He was a shoemaker by trade, the son of an African homemaker and a Dutch engineer, in whose machine shop Jan Matzeliger began working at the age of ten.

Jan Matzeliger immigrated to the United States at age 18 and went to work in a shoe factory in Philadelphia. Shoes then were hand made, a slow tedious process. Jan Matzeliger helped revolutionize the shoe industry by developing a shoe lasting machine that would attach the sole to the shoe in one minute.

The shoe lasting machine adjusts the shoe leather upper snugly over the mold, arranges the leather under the sole and pins it in place with nails while the sole is stitched to the leather upper.

Jan Matzeliger died poor, but his stock in the machine was quite valuable. He left it to his friends and to the First Church of Christ in Lynn, Masschusetts.
One Step Further:
From Debi London

I added a Multi Cultural twist to this project for African American Heritage Month and had children create prints, (using multicultural tempera paints).

1. Paint the soles of the shoes and print on white paper.

2. Cut the shoe prints out and glue on to white paper in an action scene.

3. The children could paint or color a background scene depending upon how much time is available.

4. Perhaps the children could be rollerblading, walking to school, etc…

Research the African-American inventor, Jan Matzeliger – who invented the shoe-lasting machine. The “shoe-lasting” machine would automatically stitch the leather of the shoe to the sole. This invention was very important because it lowered the cost to both the manufacturer and the customer.

* African-American Inventors & Inventions: Jan Ernst Matzeliger

* Jan Matzeliger

* Jan Ernst Matzeliger


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