Activity Introduction

furniture-waste-heroQuick summary: Students will respond to existing works of art that use rubbish as the medium. They will then create artworks using ‘clean’ rubbish. The resources include artworks and a worksheet designed for students in Years 9 and 10.

This lesson has been developed as part of the Schools Recycle Right Challenge for Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week. Register your lesson or other activities so they can be counted towards the national achievement and to receive other free support materials.


Learning intentions:

  • Students respond to and appreciate artworks
  • Students understand the importance and value of recycling
  • Students engage in artmaking to demonstrate their understanding

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingCreative Thinking  

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Year 9 & 10 Visual Arts

  • Evaluate how representations communicate artistic intentions in artworks they make and view to inform their future art making (ACAVAR130)

Year 9 & 10 Visual Arts

  • Manipulate materials, techniques, technologies and processes to develop and represent their own artistic intentions (ACAVAM126)

Extension Activity

Year 9 & 10 Music

  • Manipulate combinations of the elements of music in a range of styles, using technology and notation (ACAMUM100)

Syllabus Outcomes: VAS5.7, VAS5.10, VAS5.6MUS5.4, MUS5.5, MUS5.6

General capabilities: Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capability, Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social capability, Ethical understanding.

Time needed: 60 minutes.

Resources required: Internet, Student Worksheet, images of garbage art and garbage shadow art, art material.

Keywords: National Recycling Week, Resources, Rubbish, Re-using, Recycling.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

What you will need: In preceding lessons, each student may collect and/or photograph enough ‘clean’ rubbish (e.g. plastic bottles, scrap paper, packaging, old shoes, empty pens) to construct an artwork. Alternatively, the teacher may provide the materials on the day by using the clean materials in school recycling bins.

Other materials needed: Glue, tape, pins and any other appropriate fixing materials, one copied worksheet for each student, images of garbage art and garbage shadow art (two are provided on the Student Worksheet, however find more by search for those phrases using Google Images) and a projector, smartboard or individual devices for display

Teacher content information: Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week started in 1996 to bring a national focus to the environmental benefits of recycling. This highly regarded annual campaign continues to educate and stimulate behaviour change by promoting kerbside, industrial and community recycling initiative. It

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: How can art help us think about our environment?


Waste shadow

Source: Colossal website

We can reduce rubbish destined for landfill by recycling and thinking differently about our waste management behaviours. These behaviours are driven by our beliefs (or lack of beliefs) about the value of things and of the environment. Look at some images of art made from rubbish. Some have been cleverly constructed to cast a defined shadow. The artists behind these pieces have based their work on the metaphor of ‘waste casting a shadow over the Earth’. Some of the artistic features and forms used in these artworks include:





optical illusion


found art

mixed media










assumed knowledge

Turn to the person next t

- or - to view worksheets

Leave your Feedback

We appreciate your feedback. Let us know what you like or don't like about this activity:

Sorry. You must be logged in to view this form.