Make Something Beautiful

K, 1, 2

The students will create a piece of art using found and recycled objects brought in from home.

Teacher Note: Arrange to have additional adults in the classroom on Day Two to help with the art projects. For safety, there are some tools and materials that should only be used by an adult.

Lesson Rating 
PrintThree Forty-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • sort and graph the found and recycled objects.
  • brainstorm a list of possible ideas for using the found objects.
  • create a 2-D/3-D art project from the found and recycled objects.
  • reflect on final publicart project.
  • display art project in school community.
  • create a flip book representing what, how, and why.
  • Found and recycled objects brought in by the students
  • White glue, wood glue and hot glue
  • Rubber bands, paper fasteners, string, paper clips, etc.
  • Scissors
  • Pliers
  • Wood hand saw
  • Tape
Home Connection 

Invite caregivers to visit the "art gallery" where the final sculptures are displayed.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Show the students a picture of a sculpture/collage made from found and recycled objects.Talk about the sculpture. Guide the students to talk about the medium, color, and feeling of the finished product. Encourage them to point out the specific objects used in the artwork. Discuss why artists would use found objects to create art.

  2. Tell the students that they are going to create art projects using the materials they have been collecting for the past week.With the students' help, display the collected objects from the different "trash" containers.Talk about what objects and materials are available for them to work with.

  3. Now is the time to have the students start to brainstorm creative ideas for projects.Have them name things that are beautiful as you write them down. After the brainstorming, students choose their art project theme (such as a flower).They may work alone, in pairs, or in small groups to create sculptures or collages with the found materials.

  4. Show the students the materials you have for fastening objects together (tape, glue, paper fasteners, string, rubber bands, paper clips, etc.).

  5. Talk about safety with scissors, pliers, and the saw. Some tools should only be handled by adults (hot glue, saw).

  6. Set up an orderly and fair plan for having students choose the objects for their projects.As the students start visualizing their art, they may ask for additional tools or they may plan to bring in additional recyclables from home.

  7. If time permits, have the students start working on their art projects.

  8. Day Two:

    Note: Arrange to have caregiver helpers or other adults in the classroom on this day to help with the art projects (especially handling hot glue and sharp tools).

  9. Use this day as an art studio day. Students work on creating their projects. The teacher's job is to promote safe use of materials and encourage creativity and neatness. Students help each other visualize, talk about the finished products, and help friends hold objects while they attach them. Encourage communication and planning and problem solving while they create.

  10. Day Three:

    Tell the students that today they are going to reflect on the work they have done. Ask the students where they have heard the word "reflect" before and what it means to them. Reflect in this case means to think seriously about what they have done and why.

  11. Write the following chart on the board. Tell the students to think about all of the activities in this unit (not just the art project) as they brainstorm. Write their ideas in the chart under the appropriate headings.

  12. What did I do to make the world more beautiful?

    How did I do it?

    Why did I do it?




  13. Have each student (or group) in turn, stand up in front of the classto talk about his/her sculpture/collage. The students answer the three reflection questions: What did you make? Why did you choose this theme/object? How did you make it? Allow the other students to ask a couple questions of the artists.

  14. Discuss where to display the art projects in order to share the beauty with others. Art projects could be displayed throughout the school, at the public library, in a local hospital, etc.

  15. Make arrangements to display the art. Each art piece should be displayed with an index card with information about it: artist(s) name, title of piece, materials used.


Finished art project! Students reflection activity What did I do to make the world more beautiful? How did I do it? Why did I do it? What? How? Why?

Cross Curriculum 

The students will display their works of art to share with the rest of the community and reflect upon their philanthropic actions throughout the unit.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.5 Identify the relationship between individual rights and community responsibility.
    3. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define community as the degree that people come together for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.9 Describe how philanthropic activities can bring about social change.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.
      3. Benchmark E.5 Give examples of actions students can take to improve the common good and list or describe responsibilities that go with those actions.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark E.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.