I found your post very interesting because it seems to me that my 7th and 10th graders are doing more “poster type” projects than I ever did at that level. My 7th grade daughter recently spent over eight hours on a weekend drawing and coloring six small scenes to go on a 4x4x4 cube. The scenes were to represent events in a book that had not been illustrated in the book itself. This was very time consuming; she did a fantastic job and the end result was very pretty but ultimately I have to ask what was learned in exchange for this much effort.
Drawing? Coloring? Rereading the book looking for scenes that could be easily illustrated that hadn’t already been done?
I don’t think she learned very much about the characterizations or the interactions between the characters or the theme of the book or any of that. She may have gotten that from another part of the class, which is fine but I don’t think the craft project taught her very much at all. As such, I don’t think it was worth 8 hours of effort or even one.