Assembling a Masterpiece

Products Used

Additional Products

  • Miscellaneous found objects
  • Masonite - to cut various size squares and rectangles 8" x 8" or larger
  • White School Glue
  • Tempera Paint
  • Paint Brushes
  • Picture Hanging Hardware
  • Hammer

Project Details

Developed by: Sue Liedke, early childhood Visual Arts teacher
Philadelphia, PA

Learning Objectives for Grades: Pre-K – 1

Lesson Plan Ideas

Students will:

  • Visually examine the iconic work of American sculptor, Louise Nevelson
  • Identify the elements of design (like color and line) present in her assemblages
  • Practice decision-making skills in selecting scale, materials to work with and object placement
  • Work on fine motor skills while picking small objects to include in assemblage


  • assemblage: a collection of objects fitted together.
  • monochrome/monochromatic: varying tones, but only one color.
  • found object: a natural or manufactured object, not originally intended as art,
    considered to have artistic value


  1. Set-up: Pre-cut masonite boards into a variety of sizes for students to choose from, and secure hanging apparatus on back of each board before students begin work.

  2. Introduction: In a circle time each day, look at 2 to 3 images of Nevelson’s many sculptures:

    1. Ask open ended questions to students: What do they notice? How are the sculptures the same, and how are they different?
    2. Discuss the scale of her work.
    3. Identify objects in the composition, as well as abstract lines and shapes.
  3. Demonstrate appropriate amount of glue to secure wood.

  4. Let students create initial compositions. Allow work to dry overnight, then allow students to complete assemblage with any finishing touches, small objects (beads, pegs, etc.).

  5. When work is completely dry (allow 24 hours), students choose any color and paint their entire piece, being careful to examine it from every angle for full coverage.

    Note: This project is prime for incorporating recycled objects!

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