Turning Trash to Treasure

Turning Trash to Treasure.pdf

Dublin Core


Turning Trash to Treasure




Recently, a new piece of clothing was put on the market that sold out in a matter of days. The designer, in conjunction with the French fashion A.P.C. line, created the luxurious item using Egyptian cotton, a “reinforced neckline and shoulders”, and displaying an asking price of $120. What was this item you may ask? It was a plain, white, loose fitting t-shirt. What made this item, which compared with one from the Dollar Store showed no visible difference, so special and worthy of such a high price? The designer was rapper and celebrity Kanye West. His name, along with A.P.C. is silkscreened inside the neckline. Is this item truly worth $120? What makes an item valuable? What does it take for something to be considered a treasure? Is it a name, the items used in its creation, or its rarity? Are items that are valuable to us, valuable to everyone? In this unit, learners will look at how value is determined in today’s society. Learners will share objects they find to be valuable and will explore other perspectives on the idea of value through the use of material objects. Learners will further this exploration by taking a common, everyday object and by manipulating it, turning it in to something that they would consider valuable.


Molly D. Chance


1. CMA 1964.1
- Sofa, Duncan Phyfe, 1841, Rosewood, rosewood veneer, and rosewood-grained mahogany; secondary woods: ash, white pine; silk lampas upholstery (reproduction of original)
2. 1966.59
3. CMA 2010.8.3
- Bird Effigy Bowl, Sara Ayers, 1980, pit-fired earthenware
4. CMA 2012.4
- By the Windowsill, Luigi Lucioni, 1932, oil on canvas


Handheld Art


Columbia Museum of Art

Unit Plan Item Type Metadata


10 classes


Visual Arts Standards:
1. VA3-1.3 Use and combine a variety of materials, techniques, and processes to create works of visual art.
2. VA3-3.2 Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning through his or her artworks.
3. VA3-5.1 Identify purposes for the creation of works of visual art.

Integrated CCSS:
Language Arts
1. 3-1.7 Create responses to text through a variety of methods such as writing, creative dramatics, and visual and performing arts.
2. 3-4.2 Create writing that includes details that support a central idea.
3. 3-4.6 Use proofreading to edit for previously learned conventions.


1. The learner will define value by discussing material objects popular and commonly used in today’s society.
2. The learner will choose a common, everyday object and manipulate it in such a way to give it more value or seem more valuable.
3. The learner will write 2-5 paragraphs explaining their object and why their additions added value to the object.
4. The learner will participate in both a self and group critique reflecting on how their object visually represents materialism.


- Pencils and erasers
- Notecards
- Variety of objects (staplers, paper clips, bottle, sock…)
- Variety of paper
- Rhinestones/plastic or costume jewelry
- Glue
- Scissors
- Cardstock (magazine article)
- Colored pencils
- Markers

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