Elementary Art Lesson: Renew Challenge

Renew Your Community

Submitted by: Linda McLean
Media Specialist / Art Teacher

Title: Renew Challenge
Presenters: Linda McLean & Cindy Scarpace
Grade: All levels
Unit: Sculpture
Time Needed: 2 or 3 Sessions


Enduring Idea: Students study “Recycle, Reuse, Reduce, Renew with art work from Detroit artist, Tyree Guyton.


Michigan Benchmarks:
All students will
1. apply skills and knowledge to perform in the arts
2. apply skills and knowledge to create in the arts
3. analyze, describe and evaluate works of art
4. understand, analyze, and describe the arts in their historical, social, and cultural contexts
5. recognize, analyze, and describe connections between the arts and everyday life
6. Analyze personal, family, and community connections that involve work by visual artists.

Creativity Connection:

Students will learn about their own community by using recyclables to create a class sculpture. They will understand Heidelberg neighborhood and apply their own ideas to construct their ideal community.


Vocabulary: Detroit Artist-Tyree Guyton, City, Community, neighborhood, ideal artist feelings, artist vision, group sculpture, 3/D.



  • Read The Heidelberg Project: A Street of Dreams, by Linda K. McLean.

  • Discuss Tyree Guyton’s artwork on Heidelberg Street.

  • Understand the objects he used in his art work. What are some of the objects we use around our houses and community?

  • Write down student’s ideas on the white board. From that list, students will vote on their favorite theme for their class sculpture.

  • Discuss what students will bring from home. If no one brings anything… that is their sculpture. During construction from other classes, students begin to catch on and it becomes a challenge. Some ideas classes brought in: cereal boxes, pop cans, playing cards, clothes, and any recyclables.

  • Students vote for final title of sculpture. Examples: Walking Trash, Recycle castle, Waiting in Line. (See next page for photos.)

  • Teacher does a lot of hot gluing.

  • Have an art show to display sculptures. Students love it! What visions are behind their artwork- recyclables?

renew Optional - Have students write about their vision of their sculpture. How does it differ from the Heidelberg community?


Visual Aids:

The Heidelberg Project, A Street of Dreams, by Linda K. McLean
Tyree Guyton pictures, news articles, photos, posters, website- www.heidelberg.org. Read more about Tyree Guyton in the book, Magic Trash. by Jane Shapiro.



Boxes of differing sizes, containers, bottles, and shapes selected by students per class for their group sculpture. Paints, Colored Markers., Drawing Paper., White Glue., Scissors., variety of add-on decorations and LOTS of Hot Glue Sticks., Large corrugated cardboard for base of sculptures per class.


Did students enrich a deeper understanding of recycle, reuse, reduce, renew?



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