Here is a lesson using recycled materials - from Julie Casebourne.
RECYCLED ROBOTS/Kindergarten (but adaptable)
Lesson created by Julie Casebourn
GLEs: Select and apply media techniques and processes to communicate
ideas and solve challenging visual art problems.
National Standards VA 1, Content Standards FA 1
Discuss the nature of art, personal and group responses to artworks.
National Standards VA 3, Content Standards FA 3
1. The purpose of this lesson is to enhance the students' creative
and motor skill development and visual/auditory perception to create a
unique/one-of a kind piece of art.
2. Students will work in small groups to plan and create a robot
from found objects/junk.
3. Students will cooperatively develop a story/facts about their robot.
Notes: This lesson is built upon previous lessons revolving around
geometric shapes found in man-made environments. Before this lesson is
introduced, students should be able to identify, name and find basic
geometric shapes in their constructed environments. Art activities
using flat 2-D paper shapes for collage were used to build vocabulary
and understanding before this lesson was presented.
Essential Questions: What are robots? What are they made of? Have you
ever seen a robot up close and personal? What kinds of shapes do you
see in robots? How do they move? What do they do? Can you think of
anything that you have in your house that is made to help you and your
family? (vacuum, dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer, blender,
If you could build your own personal robot, what materials would you
use; what would your robot do; does it talk; how does it move; does it
eat; what does it eat; what kinds of jobs does it do? Etc...
Resources and Materials: Magazines, books with pics,
Big A video-Exploring Ideas (14:19) (GPN PO Box 80669, Lincoln, NE
68501-0669 800-228-4630), Gutted dead school computers, junk from mine
and others sheds, castaways from the school's maintenance and bus barn
depts. , junkyard, be a dumpster diver!! Hot glue and liquid nails,
something to seperate stuff for each group... I use soda pop flats.
Examples of small stuff for the robots might be: clean nails, screws,
washers, nuts, bolts, rivets, buttons, coins, jewelry.
Prep ahead of time: cut large sheets of cast-off cardboard into huge
rectangles and paint black or whatever color you want. Sort various
sized objects from your junk collection into as many boxes as you have
groups (I have 4-5 kids in each group). Decide which kids will work
together in which group and write their names on the back of the
Activities and Sequence
1. Conversation on how this lesson relates to previous one about
shapes and introduction of this lesson and what they will be expected
to create -2 minutes
2. Essential questions/discussion and pics and/or book(s), stories
about robots - 5-10 minutes
3. Show the portion of the Big A video on robots - 5 minutes OR
Read a book about robots -10 minutes
(if time is short... let them draw a picture of their robot and save
the group 3-D lesson for next time and review information the
following class period- we all have different time issues)
1. Separate kids into groups. Give them their cardboard and box of
junk and allow them to explore the stuff -5 minutes
2. After exploration.. the kids will have great ideas about what
they want to use from the junk box for their robot. My only real
guidance after this point is to remind them about basic proportion: it
will work well if they use a large object for the body and head and
the medium sized pieces for the neck, arms and legs and the smaller
pieces for feet, toes, fingers/pinchers
Also... I remind them about trying different ideas- different
objects in different places to serve as different body parts of the
robot. This allows for everyone in the group to have their idea
3. THEN....sit back and let them "creatively play" and imagine.
THIS IS THE GOOD STUFF - 10-15 minutes
4. I monitor and make suggestions only if a group is stuck, but
that is very rare.. they are oozing with ideas to try out.
Closure- review what they learned today and tell them that their
robots will be permanently attached to their background next time they
come to class.
Notes: Over the course of the week I or an older age group.. (I used
my 6th graders that wanted to help glue) will glue down the
robots EXACTLY how the kindergarten laid them out.
Hot glue for lighter pieces and liquid nails for heavier, odd- shaped parts.
Attach a hanging device to the back.
Extension: The following week the robots were on display when the kids
entered the room and they were allowed time to look at them and touch
them and we reviewed some of the "essential questions" again.
The kids were again put into their groups and I gave the groups time
to invent facts or a story about their robot.
They needed some prompting here so I would ask them questions about
their robot to assist the blank.
Some groups planned what they wanted to say and other groups gave me
individual facts about their robot. As they recited their info or
story I typed on the computer and then printed their recitations and
attached to the cardboard. All the robots went on display into the
hallway with a huge sign stating the objectives and photos of the kids
We also talked about recycling during this period and I referred back
to the Big A video robot artist that uses "junk" in his artwork and
how it is helpful to the planet to find creative ways to incorporate
stuff that would normally go to waste.
I didn't use a rubric, but certainly one could be devised.