Bowl of Love

3, 4, 5

The students use clay to create functional forms for everyday use.  They plan a fundraiser at which they sell their pottery.  The money raised is donated to the soup kitchen they visited earlier in the unit.

PrintTwo Fifty-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • research clay designs and technique related to history and culture.
  • follow step-by-step instructions for making a functional pottery piece.
  • work cooperatively to plan a fundraising event.
  • carry out the service project.
  • reflect on the outcomes of the project.
  • clay for each student about the size of your fist
  • rolling pins
  • 4" x 4" templates
  • materials to make textures
  • paper clip to trim clay
  • pictures of clay pots or actual clay pots (see Bibliographical References)
  • Teacher Note: If clay isn't available, you can use papier mâché and ballons to create the bowls.
Home Connection 

Families are invited to the fundraiser and they may purchase student-made artwork. All profits are donated to the local soup kitchen.



  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Show the students some examples of clay pottery, either actual pieces or images from the Internet (see Bibliographical References). Talk about the colors, textures, and designs of the different pieces. Discuss the purpose for the different pieces, (serving food or water, holding flowers, decorative, etc.). Talk about the historical or cultural background of the pieces. Tell the students that they are going to make clay art to sell in a fundraiser for the soup kitchen.

  2. Give the students the definition of some art terms.Functional forms are objects created by artists for use in daily life rather than simply decorative. The pieces may be decorative, but they have a purpose/function. The form of the container is the positive space. This is the part we can touch. The inside of the container has negative space. This is the space to be filled.

  3. Demonstrate how to use the clay tools and techniques to make a functional clay piece (such as a bowl). Remind students to roll up sleeves and remove jewelry (place in pockets) because their hands will become dirty. Clay is easily cleaned with soap and water.

  4. Give each student a ball of clay the size of your fist.

  5. Using a rolling pin, students roll out a large slab of clay about 1/4" thick. This can be used for the base and sides of a slab pot. A coil pot starts with any shape slab base and 1/4" wide coils. A round-sided pot starts with a round base and a long rectangle for the sides.

  6. For a square pot, use the template to make five 4-inch squares from the slab. Cut out around the template with the paper clip. One square is used for the base of the container and the four remaining pieces are used for the sides.

  7. To join two pieces of clay together:

    a. score (scratch) the areas on the claly to be joined so they will stick together.

    b. attach the pieces with some "slip" (very wet clay).

    c. squeeze the two pieces together.

    d. smooth the edges.

  8. If using air-dry clay, wait until the containers are dry to paint. Tempra or water colors work well.

  9. If using oven baked clay, bake according to directions until done. When cooled, paint with tempra or water colors.

  10. If using a kiln, stuff the bowl with newspaper to support the walls while firing. The newspaper will burn off. Select your glazes, paint, and fire again.

  11. Part Two:

  12. Discuss the best way to have a fundraiser. Probably the best option is to have an open house with snacks. Guests can be invited to view all the pieces and then purchase them on a first-come, first-serve basis. Other options include making a catalog, holding an auction, and displaying from a booth at a larger festival.

  13. Discuss when and where the fundraiser should be located and who should be invited. Make advertisements or invitations and include the time, place and purpose of the event.

  14. Discuss how much money you would like to raise for the soup kitchen and discuss how prices will be determined.

  15. Have each student write a description of his or her piece. The writeup should include a name for the piece as well as a description of its purpose, materials, process used, and a description of the colors or design. Have students work together to edit and revise their writing.The final piece should be typed on a card or in a sales catalog.

  16. Work together as a class to plan the fundraising event. Plan snacks and share responsibilities for carrying out the event.

  17. Any money raised should be presented to the soup kitchen director.

  18. After the event, have students reflect in writing about the success of the fundraiser.


Evaluate completed artwork for quality, creativity and purpose. Observe student participation in discussion, planning, and fulfilling responsibilities for the fundraiser. Student writing should include name, date, and a complete description of the artwork. The final copy should be neatly typed and have correct spelling and grammar.

Cross Curriculum 

Students create functional clay potteryto sell at a fundraiser for the soup kitchen. Students reflectby writingabout the fundraiser and how they felt about sharing their talent to raisefunds fora local nonprofit.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Describe the task and the student role.
    3. Standard VS 04. Raising Private Resources
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a service plan.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Set a fund-raising goal and identify sources of private funds.
    4. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark E.2 Evaluate progress on the service-learning project before, during, and after the project.