Recycled Art Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

What is recycled art and how can it be created? This lesson plan delves into this concept through the use of a text lesson. An activity challenges students to create recycled art with a fun twist.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'recycled art'
  • summarize the history of recycled art
  • discuss some well-known artists who dabbled in recycled art


45 to 90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.


Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.


  • Printed copies of the text lesson Recycled Art: History & Materials
  • Paper copies of the worksheet from the associated text lesson
  • A cardboard box full of various used objects from small to large (e.g. empty food containers, sponges and brushes, old clothing and accessories, empty ink cartridges and office supplies and so on)
  • A die
  • Scissors
  • Paper in assorted types and colors
  • Glue
  • Non-toxic paints
  • Paintbrushes


  • Begin by asking students to take turns listing supplies that can be used to create fine art.
    • Did anyone mention a urinal, a doll or old automobile parts as potential art supplies?
    • How might these odd items be used to create art?
  • Hand out the paper copies of the text lesson to each of the students in class.
  • Tell students to read the introduction, 'What is Recycled Art?' and 'History of Recycled Art' sections of the text lesson.
    • How would you define 'recycled art'?
    • What might we be able to tell about people and their cultures from the recycled art they've created throughout history?
  • Ask the class to read the remainder of the text lesson.
    • What factors differentiate recycled art from the early 20th century from that of later years?
    • Is there a limit to what types of materials can be used to create recycled art?
  • Divide students into pairs.
  • Give each pair one copy of the worksheet and ask them to work together to complete it.
  • When all pairs have completed the worksheet, review each question and answer as a class, connecting the material back to the content of the text lesson whenever possible.

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