Grade/Class: Second grade

Lesson Title: Cardboard constructs. Enhancing a place with sculpture.

Media/Materials: Sculpture: Salvaged cardboard, scissors, packaging tape, glue, Cardboard bases wrapped in white paper, and Lego minifigures (lent by the teacher) Students are allowed to bring their own minifigures or other figurines from home, to help show the scale of their sculptures.

Key Concept: Sculptures can enhance or detract from the environment where they are placed.

Big Idea: Place


  1. Students will learn about contemporary artist, Richard Serra, and how his sculptures impacted the places where they were installed.
  2. Students will consider how an abstract sculpture could change or impact their own, familiar environment.
  3. Students will expand on their ideas by completing four sketches of possible designs on a worksheet.
  4. Students will translate their sketches to sculptural objects through the use of cardboard mounted to another piece of cardboard wrapped in white paper.
  5. Students will be able to show the scale of their sculpture by adding figurines to the base of the sculpture.

National Standard:
Visual Arts-Presenting Anchor Standard 6: Convey meaning through the

presentation of artistic work. VA:Pr6.1.2a “Analyze how art exhibited inside and outside of schools (such as in museums, galleries, virtual spaces, and other venues) contributes to communities.”

Lesson Timeframe: This lesson will take three class periods of 25-35 minutes. The first class will consist of a PowerPoint and introduction to contemporary artist Richard Serra. Students will discuss how his sculptures impact the places where they are installed. Following the discussion, students will complete four sketches of potential sculptures for their own community on a worksheet.

During the second class, students will translate their sketches into 3D cardboard sculptures. This construction process will take most students one and a half class periods.
In the third class period, students will mount their sculpture on the prepared mounting board adding miniature figures to show scale. They will also decorate their mounting board with drawings to show the environment where their sculpture was placed.



  • Students will view a PowerPoint that features the sculptures of Richard Serra.
  • In a class discussion, students will observe how his forms interact with and affect theenvironment in which they are placed. The teacher will tell the class about how one of his artworks was removed, after a long legal battle, and how the public viewed that sculpture as a nuisance to move around. The class will discuss their views on whether the sculpture “Tilted Arc” enhanced or diminished from the plaza where it was located. They will understand that the sculpture made an impact, even though it was controversial.
  • After viewing more of Serra’s sculptural designs, the class will discuss the critical aspects of his sculptures that contribute to the design, as well as the impact they have on the different places they are installed.
  • Using pencils and a worksheet, students will draw 6 sketches of possible sculptures that could affect the place they are installed, in their community. They will be reminded to consider the forms that they see in the landscape around us, and be encouraged to repeat some of those shapes and forms.
  • The students must write where their sculpture will be installed, and the reason for choosing that space, underneath each sketch.
  • When students have completed their sketches, they must choose one to make into a miniature cardboard sculpture.
  • Students will construct their sculpture out of cardboard. They will use lego minifigures to help visualize the scale of their sculpture. (The minifigures represent an average human).
  • Students will design the base that the sculpture will sit on. The base must represent the place where their sculptures will be installed.