How bout claymation, done with plasticene? With the sets, characters, and revisions/editing, that could eat up the time with a minimuim of mess.
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Next week, most of the 8th graders in my building will be in Washington, DC. About 40 kids will be staying behind. Usually, the most unruly and least motivated kids are the ones who do not go on the trip.
I have been asked by my co-workers to come up with a one day art project that would be "fun"