Treasuring a Trash-less Tomorrow

6, 7, 8

The purpose of this lesson is have the learners plan and set up an Art Exhibit and Auction to create an awareness of the problems associated with waste disposal within their community, and raise funds to contribute to a locally identified non-profit organization that promotes recycling efforts/projects.

PrintFive Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • generate a plan of action for hosting an Art Exhibit and Auction.
  • design marketing flyers/invitations for an Art Exhibit and Auction.
  • identify a local non-profit organization that promotes recycling efforts/projects.
  • contribute money raised at the art auction to a local non-profit organization that promotes recycling efforts/projects.
  • a variety of newspaper/magazine full-page marketing ads or commercials
  • computers/printer
  • blank school stationary or standard computer paper
  • highlighters
  • A Plan of Action (Handout One)
  • The Details (Handout Two)
  • The Bid (Handout Three)
  • sticky dots or small self-stick notes
  • three coffee cans (large size) Teacher Note: Have arrangements for the date and location of the Art Exhibit and Auction scheduled prior to this unit as it may need to be booked in advance. Using an empty classroom or the school library is an option, but finding a place in the community may increase visibility by having longer hours and drawing a bigger audience, as well as eliminating problems associated with having visitors in and out of your school building.


  1. Anticipatory Set: As the learners enter the classroom, have some of the more common slogans/ads displayed on the board using a variety of writing styles. i.e. Are You With Us?, Just Do It, Raising the Bar; The Sleep You’ve Been Dreaming Of; Live Tastefully, Pure Relaxation; Down on the Farm; All Natural Flavor; The Quicker Picker Upper; It’s Everywhere You Want to Be; Bet You Can’t Eat Just One; Can You Hear Me Now?, etc..(For additional ad slogans Ask the learners if they can identify these phrases and add to them some of the more popular ones of the day. Record their response on the board asking those who contributed the phrase to also indicate the product or service being offered or sold, and why they think it is an appropriate slogan/ad.

  2. Ask learners what they think the purpose of a slogan/ad/or marketing campaign is and who might be the intended audience.

  3. Inform the learners that they will soon be involved in developing a marketing campaign to help promote the Art Exhibit and Auction of their “Trash to Treasure” artifacts and like all good marketing campaigns, they will want something that will “catch” the attention of their intended audience

  4. Assign the learners in teams of four and distribute A Plan of Action (Handout One). Tell each team that they are being assigned the responsibility of putting together a marketing campaign to promote the Art Exhibit and Auction that features slogans/ads as well as the details of the event.

  5. Distribute The Details (Handout Two) and provide the learners information regarding the date, time, and location of the Art Exhibit and Auction.

  6. Announce that all the market campaign proposals must be clearly spelled out in The Details (Handout Two) and presented to the entire class, by the assigned date, at which time a vote will be held to determine the winning Art Exhibit and Auction marketing campaign.

  7. On the assigned date, have each group take three to four minutes to present their marketing campaign ideas. Instruct the class not to comment on anyone else’s ideas as only the learner presenting for his/her group is allowed to speak. When each group has completed their presentation, display each group’s The Details (Handout Two) form. Give each learner a sticky dot or small self-stick note. Instruct them that they are to vote for their choice of marketing campaigns by placing their sticky dot(s) or notes beneath The Details (Handout Two) form. The teacher should decide if the learners can vote for their own marketing plan or not.

  8. Count the number of votes for each plan and declare the winning marketing campaign. In the event of a tie conduct a run-off vote of those proposals involved in the tie using the same procedure described above.

  9. Announce the need for all the learners to sign up to work on implementing the winning market campaign in the following areas:

    1. Developing the Flyer
    2. Developing the Ad
    3. Developing the Lay Out of the Exhibit
  10. Assign the team members of the winning marketing campaign to serve as leaders in each of these areas to help direct the activities of the market plan as well as share the date by which all aspects of the campaign are be completed and displayed to the public.

  11. Schedule learners to act as docents for specific times on the day of the Art Exhibit as well as oversee the Silent Auction (NOTE: The procedure for the action should be as follows: On a slip of paper, the bidders indicate the name of the artifact they are bidding on, the amount of their bid, and how he or she can be contacted should they be the highest bidder. These slips of paper are to be placed in the decorated coffee cans situated around the exhibit area. To promote continuity The Bid (Handout Three) can be copied and made available at the exhibit site.)

  12. The learners assigned in Lesson Four to conduct a search for local, state or national non-profit organizations that promote recycling efforts, are to decide on what organization will be the recipient of the funds raised during the Art Exhibit and Auction. They will present this decision to the class along with rationale for their selection. They will also be responsible to decorate three containers to be used at the Art Exhibit and Art Auction as a deposit for the bidding and/or donations.

  13. After hosting the Art Fair and Auction, determine the winning bids, collect the bid money, distribute the artifacts, and contribute the proceeds to the selected nonprofit organization. Conclude this lesson with by asking each student to reflect on the following prompt: “Doing this project, I learned that…. and “…If this were to be done again in another year I would suggest that…”


The involvement of the learners in the class discussions, the group work on the marketing campaign proposals, the individual efforts reflected in the specifically assigned tasks and the depth of refection form the assessment for this lesson.

Cross Curriculum 

Hosting an Art Exhibit and Auction

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define and give an example of a for-profit corporation demonstrating community stewardship through corporate philanthropy.
      2. Benchmark MS.13 Describe how philanthropy can reallocate limited resources to meet human needs.
    2. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify and describe civil society organizations whose purpose is associated with issues relating to "human characteristics of place."
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Describe the task and the student role.
    3. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Evaluate progress on the service-learning project before, during, and after the project.