Lesson Plan: Recycled Robots - Kindergarten

Recycled Robots

MonaSubmitted by: Julie Casebourn, Blue Eye Schools, Blue Eye, Missouri
Unit: Sculpture - assemblage
Grade Level: Kindergarten (adaptable to other grades)


Children's Stories (these were displayed with the robots):

Bob: His name is Bob. He drinks oil and he likes to eat bolts. He likes to eat bread too. Bob applied for a job and now cooks Hamburgers at Sonic. He likes to do back flips off the roof of his house.


Leo and Camden: The Big robot is named Leo and the little robot is called Camden. The dad builds stuff like other robots and robot dogs. He can do back flips. He can do front flips.


Terron: Its name is Terron. He likes to eat metal and eat screwdrivers and brains. Terron likes to dance in the park for money. One of his other favorite things to do is roller-skate and ice skate.


Booch and Sally: The large robot is a dad and his name is Booch. The small robot is Sally. The robot dog's name is Corny. The daddy robot eats frog heads. They like to clean bathrooms. This family is walking to the park. They are going to play swings and slide and catch fish. They are going to throw a stick and the dog will chaseit.

Click images for larger views

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Robot Bob (detail) Leo and Camden (detail)

Grade Level Expectations (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.


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Terron (detail) Booch and Sally (detail)

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, toaster etc...)


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...




How to Build Your Own Robot (Science Fair Success). - This book teaches the fundamentals of robotics, from motor to wheel alignment and step by step instructions for the construction of a real robot.


Your Very Own Robot. - If you can figure out how to put the pieces together, you'll have a robot of your very own! But do you know enough to control it? Are you ready for the adventures your very own robot will bring? This book is a language arts tie-in.


How to Draw Robots And Aliens. - Aged nine and upwards. This book breaks down the creation of the robot in steps.



Brian Marshall - A robot artist. You can also see his work here and on his blog.



Corrugated cardboard (spray paint) for mounting - Gutted dead school computers, junk from personal and others' sheds, castaways from the school's maintenance and bus barn depts., junkyard (be a dumpster diver!!)  Hot Glue Gun., Hot Glue Sticks. and Liquid Nails,. something to separate stuff for each group (soda pop flats are ideal). 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 (4-5 students in each group works well). Decide which kids will work together in which group and write their names on the back of the cardboard.


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 pictures and/or book(s), stories about robots - 5-10 minutes

  3. Show the portion of the Big A Video Series*- "Exploring Ideas" 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)


*The video series, "Big A - Exploring Ideas"- No longer available- (GPN PO Box 80669, Lincoln, NE 68501-0669 800-228-4630) can no longer be found on GPN or online. Says Julie: "It's too bad they aren't selling the series anymore, because it's great. I think there is enough information out there that any creative art teacher can substitute their own resources for my video."



  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. The 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... 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 recognized.

  3. THEN... sit back and let them "creatively play" and imagine. THIS IS THE GOOD STUFF - 10-15 minutes

  4. 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 teacher or an older age group.. (Julie used 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.



The following week the robots were on display when the students entered the room and they were allowed time to look at them and touch them. They reviewed some of the "essential questions" again. The students were again put into their groups and were given time time to invent facts or a story about their robot. They needed some prompting here so Julie asked them questions about their robot to assist the blank. Some groups planned what they wanted to say and other groups gave teacher individual facts about their robot. As they recited their info or story, Julie 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 students working cooperatively.


They also talked about recycling during this period and referred back to the Big A* video robot artist (See note above) 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.


Sample Rubric:


Project: Recycled Robot
Name ______________________________ Date ________________ Class _____________




Mastery – 3 pts

Advancing –2pts

Novice – 1 pt


Developing skills at grade level – Shows growth - takes risks to discover

I produce high quality, creative work. I show originality and take risks to learn new.

Understanding and application of Art Concepts and lesson objectives

I apply all art concepts, especially those stressed for the project. I solve problems myself.

Participation and effort

I always participate in class and always use class time well

Use and care of Materials

I used all materials appropriately with no reminders. I always clean up


I always follow all classroom rules and never cause a classroom disturbance. I am Always helpful.

S+=15-11     S=10-6     NI=5-0     Total



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