Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) One person’s junk is another’s treasure, at least to an artist.
Fifth graders at Grant Elementary took the idea to heart in order to create “Junk Robot” sculptures out of found items like cans, beaters, and soda cans.
Shelisa Schmidt, in her fourth year of teaching art and her third at Grant Elementary, got the idea from an art conference she attended. Each year, the kids get excited for the project.
“Leading up to the start, we talk about collecting the junk from home. I collect things for the kids, but if they want more, they need to bring in things as well,” Schmidt said. Her mom, an Assistant Deli Manager for Festival Foods, is able to donate 75-100 cans a year after the deli is finished with them.
The 5th graders watch a video on real robots, how art can help the environment, and their role in keeping the planet clean. Then, they sketch out what their robots should look like.
On junk collection day, several large bins of junk are set out and each student collects from each one. “This is everyone’s favorite day and the most fun!” Schmidt said. “Junk can include anything from Lego pieces, board game pieces, wires, bottle caps, and so much more! The kids like to see what weird stuff they can find.”
The third day, kids get to work with hot glue guns to assemble their unique robots, a long process that requires some problem solving to discover what works and what doesn’t. Once everything is assembled, they can sign up to have their creation spray painted gold or silver.
“The transformation with the spray paint is awesome to see; It really gives it that ‘robot’ look,” said Schmidt.
Masterpieces finished, the robots are set out for display for all the younger kids to admire and eagerly await their turn one day.