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Courtney Jones

“Our Service Bots” Lesson Plan

Level: 5th grade (can be easily adapted for younger grades as well)
Central Focus: After brainstorming potential tasks their robots could perform to benefit their
community, students create a two-dimensional robot design addressing function and shape
that will also explore the way artists use highlight and shadow to create value in their work.
This 2D rendering will then be translated into a three-dimensional model, investigating form
and function.

National Core Arts Standards:

 VA:Cr1.1.4a – Brainstorm multiple approaches to a creative art or design problem.
 VA:Cn10.1.6a – Generate a collection of ideas reflecting current interests or concerns
that could be investigated in art-making.
 VA:Cr3.1.5a – Create artist statements using art vocabulary to describe personal choices
in art making.

Learning Objectives: Students will…

 Discuss the difference between geometric and organic shapes and use them accordingly
in their robot design.
 Brainstorm ways their robot could help/improve/be a service to their community.
 Create 2D renderings of their robot with construction paper using geometric stencils.
 Add highlight and shadow to their robot design with crayon to create value,
corresponding to their chosen light source.
 Transform their 2D design into a 3D model using wire, newspaper, and aluminum foil.
 Write an artist statement describing their robot’s function as well as demonstrating
their understanding of featured vocabulary.

Featured Vocabulary: geometric, organic, form, shape, highlight, shadow, value, function, two-
dimensional, three-dimensional, sculpture, armature
Materials: construction paper, geometric shape stencils, pencil, scissors, glue, crayons, small
wood blocks, wire, aluminum foil, aluminum foil tape, newspaper, toilet paper tubes,
Styrofoam balls, stapler, masking tape, hot glue

Lesson Sequence:
Day 1:
1. Introduction for 2D segment:
a. Hand out pre-cut geometric and organic shapes as the students enter and sit on
the carpet, instruct them to sit in a circle around the carpet. Read the agenda for
the unit to ensure students and teacher are on the same page and ease student
b. Have students volunteer to read learning targets (in student-friendly language)
projected on screen:
i. “Today I am learning how to: determine whether a shape is geometric or
organic and brainstorm ideas of how a robot could help my community.”
ii. “I know I am successful when: I have chosen a function for my robot and
I can tell if a shape is organic or geometric.”
iii. “This is useful because: I will know the difference between geometric
and organic shapes.”
c. Two categories will then be labeled on the carpet: organic and geometric.
Instruct students to place their shape under the corresponding category. (Go
around the circle, each student places their shape where they believe it belongs.)
Ask if any of them can define these terms in their own words. Have a discussion
about the definitions and characteristics of each, compare and contrast. Where
are these shapes found in the world?
i. (Ex: Geometric shapes- man-made, buildings, math, hard edges. Organic
shapes- found in nature, shapes of living things, etc.)
d. Slideshow of examples in robots:
i. “These shapes can be found everywhere, artists use them in everything
they create. Today we’re going to look at the shapes artists use in robots
they invent.” Show some examples and have students point out the
shapes they see.
ii. Pop-culture robots: R2-D2, the movie “Robots,” Transformers, Baymax
Fine art example: Brian Despain paintings, Real life examples: military
drones, Boston Dynamics disaster relief robot
iii. Pictures used in slides retrieved from Google Images
e. Explanation of project:
i. “Today we’ll start making our own robots. All robots are built for a
purpose; they have functions. Our robots will be designed to help our
community in some way.” Have students collaboratively brainstorm ways
their robot will service their community.
2. Demonstration: Students gather around demo table
a. “First, I have to decide my robot’s function. To help my community, I think my
robot will clean up trash and recycle. How can I show this on my robot?”
b. Write name on paper.
c. Show how to use stencils to create geometric shapes for robot design. Students
can experiment with shapes at their tables before committing to a design.
d. Trace desired shapes onto grey construction paper. Tip: fold paper in half and
cut out shape if two of the same are needed!
e. Cut out shapes and arrange on paper. Remind students that organic shapes are
made drawing free-hand, not with stencils. (My recycling robot has vacuum
hoses as arms and legs, these are organic shapes so I didn’t need a stencil.)
f. Glue shapes onto colored construction paper background.
g. Use colored construction paper to cut out details: Buttons, eyes, features, etc.
h. Choose where your light source will be located on the paper: draw a sun.
i. “According to this light source, where will the shadows be? The highlights?”
j. Using black and white crayon, add highlights and shadows on the robot’s
appendages as well as on the ground.
k. Place on drying rack when finished.
3. Student work time:
a. Circle the room, ask students what service their robot will perform for the
i. How will they show this in their design?
b. Ask students to point out geometric and organic shapes.
c. Ask students where their light source is and how that affects their highlight and
d. Call outs to keep students on track: “Is your name on your paper?” “Notice how
far you’ve gotten; we have ten minutes left of class. How much more can you
accomplish in that time?” etc.
4. Closure: Students put work on the drying rack, clean their spaces, put materials away
correctly, and line up. Reflection questions while we wait for classroom teacher:
a. “Who can tell me what value is?”
b. “Who can give me an example of a geometric shape?”
c. “Who would like to share their robot’s function?”
Day 2:
1. Introduction:
a. Have students volunteer to read the learning targets projected on the screen:
i. “Today I am learning how to: add details to my robot design and add
highlight and shadow to my artwork to create value.”
ii. “I know I am successful when: my two-dimensional robot design is
complete and I know how to create value.”
iii. “This is useful because: artists use highlight and shadow in their work to
create value and make their work more interesting.”
b. Slides: (Picture of a sphere with highlight and shadow) “Based on this picture,
where would the light source be? How do you know?” Explain.
i. Show the next slide with the graphic that also has the light source
c. Review from last time:
i. “Who can tell me the difference between organic and geometric
ii. “Does anyone want to share the function of their robot?”
d. “Today we will be adding details to our robots using colored construction paper
and adding value with highlight and shadow using crayons.”
2. Demonstration: Students gather around the demo table
a. First, finish gluing down any robot parts that are missing from last time.
b. Next, add any details necessary to your robot’s function using scrap colored
construction paper. (buttons, lights, etc.)
c. Then use a yellow piece to create your light source in the corner (the sun).
d. Based on where you put your light source, where will the shadows and highlights
e. Use a white crayon to create the highlights and a black crayon to create the
f. Include a cast shadow on the ground beneath your robot as well. Remember to
keep thinking about where the light source is.
3. Student work time:
a. Circle the room, assisting students who need help.
b. Keep them on track with time remaining, encourage them to work hard and
Day 3:
1. Introduction:
a. Have students volunteer to read the learning targets projected on the screen:
i. “Today I am learning how to: build the armature for my three-
dimensional robot model.”
ii. “I know I am successful when: I have completed my armature.”
iii. “This is useful because: artists and designers often start with two-
dimensional designs before moving onto three-dimensional models
when creating new products.”
c. Who can tell me what 2D means in their own words? 3D?
b. Define armature with slides and explain what we will be doing in more detail.
Emphasize that armature is the “skeleton” support system underneath a
sculpture; it doesn’t look like the finished piece so don’t get hung up on details.
c. Review from last time:
i. “Who can tell me the difference between organic and geometric
ii. “What does value mean?”
2. Demonstration:
a. Explain that the wire is malleable and you can change its form easily. Remind
them of the sharp ends and being conscious of where other students are; don’t
poke anybody.
b. Start by finding the middle and bending the wire in half.
c. Remind them that depending on their robot’s design, their armature may take a
different shape than my example but keep it simple.
d. Think about experimenting with different materials to build mass (TP tubes,
Styrofoam balls, tag board, etc.)
e. Shape the legs, leaving about an inch of wire on the bottom of each to staple
onto the base next time.
f. Smaller wire at the table is for adding arms if necessary. Show how to attach by
g. Two methods of adding newspaper to bulk up the armature (“adding the
i. Balling it up and taping as a quick way to build mass
ii. Rolling it around the wire and taping- good for thinner parts like arms and
legs on my example.
3. Student work time:
a. Important to keep reminding students the definition of armature –the support
system of the sculpture. It won’t look exactly like your robot; we will add details
next time!
b. Circle the room assisting students who need extra help
Day 4:
1. Introduction:
a. Reflection: What do you remember/what did you learn? What went well? What
did you struggle with? What are some things you could do differently?
b. Have students volunteer to read the learning targets projected on the screen:
iii. “Today I am learning how to: Finish my 3D model by covering my
armature with aluminum foil and adding details.”
iv. “I know I am successful when: My 3D robot is finished, covered in
aluminum foil and details.”
v. “This is useful because: I will know how to turn an armature into a
finished model.”
c. Review vocabulary from last time.
2. Demonstration:
a. First, finish building up the armature from last time using newspaper and
masking tape
b. Show students how to wrap aluminum foil around robot appendages.
c. Cut out details with colored construction paper
d. Discuss with students how to use glue gun to add paper details
i. Tips: working quick because glue dries quick. Being careful because it is
very hot. Placing the glue somewhere safe while not in use.
e. When students are finished, they can choose a wood block for the base.
Teachers in the room assist with stapling robots to the base.
3. Student work time

Day 5:
1. Introduction: Review vocabulary from unit
a. Reflection: What do you remember/what did you learn? What went well? What
did you struggle with? What are some things you could do differently?
2. Assessment:
a. Students will be graded with the rubric through individual discussions during
class work time throughout the unit and/or while examining the final products
(2D and 3D pieces as well as artist statement/ worksheet).
b. Rubric: Use a “ + “ to indicate that the student meets the standard
independently, “0” indicates that the student meets the standard with
prompting, and a “ - “ if the student is unable to meet standard even with adult
c. Students will complete a “post-test/artist statement”
Wrap up: Any finishing touches on work, working on artist statement/vocabulary tests. Catch
up any students that may have been absent. Review vocabulary while students are lined up at
the door: “Who can tell me what _____ means?”
Name:_______________________________ Date:________

“Our Service Bots” Vocabulary Pre-test

Draw lines to match the vocabulary word with its definition:

1. Organic shapes
a. A dark area produced by a light source shining on an object

2. Three-dimensional
b. Freeform shapes that represent things in the natural world

3. Armature
c. Something that has length, width, and depth. Not flat

4. Shadow
d. A metal framework underneath a sculpture

Define the vocabulary words below in your own words:

1. Value _______________________________________________________________________


2. Two-dimensional _____________________________________________________________


3. Geometric shapes ____________________________________________________________


4. Function ____________________________________________________________________


5. Highlight ____________________________________________________________________

Demonstrated an Highlights and shadow Completed an artist
understanding of the correctly correspond statement describing
difference between with selected light robot’s function,
Student Name organic and geometric source in 2D piece. correctly using art
shapes. vocabulary.







Name:_______________________________ Date:________

“Our Service Bots” Artist Statement Vocabulary Review

1. My robot’s function is ______________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________ .

It will help my community by ___________________________________________



__________________________ . I used organic or geometric shapes (circle one) .

2. In your own words, what does value mean? _____________________________


__________________________________________________________________ .

3. Circle the shape below that has value and appears to be three-dimensional.