Topic: Embracing Challenges

3rd Grade, Art & Literacy Curriculum Set





In this project, student artists learn about four different artists who faced mental or physical challenges and turned these challenges to their advantage. Student artists experiment with the idea of limitations. They are tasked with creating a sculpture from limited (recycled) materials. They finish by working with (a limited palette of) paint and mixing colors to complete their sculpture

© info: Doodles Academy presents both public domain artworks and works that are protected by copyright in their videos and lessons. The latter are used in accordance with fair use principle, as the images are only being used for educational purposes. If you are the copyright holder of the work of art used for and do not agree that the use of your image is a fair use, please contact us by email.





Lesson 1 & 2: Scissors, glue, glue cups, glue brushes, masking tape, rags, paper, cardboard scraps OR lightweight chipboard, 5-6” cardboard or chipboard bases, string, wire, *recycled materials, Optional but recommended: **hot glue and glue sticks

Lesson 3: Tempera paint in red, yellow, blue, white, and black; painting paper or grid sheet (see photocopies), ****painting palettes, brushes, water cups, rags. ***Large white paper for communal colors 

Lesson 4 & 5: See painting materials for lesson 3, sculptures, scrap paper 

Suggestion: have bins for each table or section that contain the materials and simply add the new materials needed for each lesson. Assign a student artist the job of passing materials out after the ‘CFU’ part of the lesson. 

*Often larger cities have a reuse store that offers recycled goods from businesses. For example, Materials for the Arts in New York, and Scrapbox in Portland, OR. These places are a wealth of fun things for students to work with, so if you have time, take an hour to visit your local store and collect materials for this project!

**Hot glue allows students to build vertically and things to dry quickly.

***This doesn’t have to be painting paper. For example, white roll paper, such as what is used for the back of bulletin boards, would be fine. Or multiple small sheets pieced together.

****magazines are handy to use as painting palettes as students can simply tear off and discard used pages. Alternatively, paper plates, laminate discard, etc. 


-Lesson 1: (selection from) Rules by Cynthia Lord 

-Lesson 3: ‘The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art’ by Barb Rosenstock 


-Lesson 2: 

For early finishers (computer, tablets, or a selection printed):

-Lesson 3: 

Optional: Certificates (see setup). 

Optional: Grid sheet (at least 2” squares. The grid makes it easier for students to see how many colors they have created, and for the teacher to count them if the challenge has a reward, but is not necessary.) 


Text Set:

Text Sets support all learners, especially those with background knowledge or vocabulary deficits, by building up these domains through a volume of reading on Science, Social Studies, and other high interest topics. You can learn more about building and using text sets here. 

The texts listed below have been pulled from,, El Education modules, and resources referenced in text sets from based on their connection to the topics addressed in this lesson.  Texts listed are at a variety of reading levels and could be read aloud or printed/provided for students to read, depending on the needs of the readers in your classroom. These texts are not integrated into the lessons; they are an optional extension, and listed here as a reference for educators interested in building their student’s background knowledge around the project’s core topic. 

ISBN/Website  Title  Author Type He had to go through a lot of hoops to make it to the NBA By Washington Post, adapted by Newsela staff Biography/non-fiction Opinion: Fighting cybercrime with neurodiversity By Gavin Patterson, Project Syndicate, adapted by Newsela staff Article/Opinion Biomusic is an option for people who have trouble expressing emotions By, adapted by Newsela staff Article/non-fiction Video game makers add features to help people with disabilities play By USA Today, adapted by Newsela staff Article/non-fiction Oral Histories  Ellis Island Oral History Collection by the National Park Service Website/oral histories 
0399257624 Thank You, Mr. Falker By Patricia Polacco Book/non-fiction
0449813398 Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille By Jen Bryant Book/non-fiction


Tier 2 (academic vocabulary) words appear in many different contexts and are often subtle or precise ways to say relatively simple things, for example “relative” or “accumulate”. We’ve determined several rich Tier 2 vocabulary used in this lesson by analyzing the language used in the project’s video lessons through Achieve the Core’s ‘Academic Word Finder’. Vocabulary instruction is critical for students as they develop reading, writing, and oral language skills.  We recommend supporting students’ understanding of these words by using them in conversation, reinforcing them in discussion, and encouraging student use of new words, More information is available here.  

Access the full file, with definitions, here. 

  • Challenge
  • Recognize
  • Portrait
  • Examine
  • Paralyze
  • Working
  • Detail
  • Shape
  • Section
  • Limitation
  • Mental
  • Object
  • Material
  • Inspire
  • Pattern
  • Create


Tier 3 words are vocabulary words that address specific content in the lessons, or are related to the Visual Arts. Tier 3 words are central to building knowledge and conceptual understanding within the various academic domains should be used and reinforced throughout the teaching of these lessons.

  • Portrait
  • Abstract





SL.3.1b Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (Lessons 1, 2 3. 4: discussing the inspiration image, Lessons 3& 5: student artwork presentations)  

SL.3.1c Ask questions to check understanding of information presented, stay on topic, and link their comments to the remarks of others. (Lessons 3& 5: student artwork presentations)      

SL.3.2 Determine the main ideas and supporting details of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally (Lessons 1, 2 3, 4: discussing the inspiration image, Lessons 3& 5: student artwork presentations)  

SL.3.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace. Lessons 3& 5: student artwork presentations)  

SL.3.6 Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification. Lessons 3& 5: student artwork presentations)  


W.3.2d Provide a concluding statement or section. (Lessons 5: writing an artist statement)



Language Arts: variety of texts are used as supplemental material 

Social Studies: connection to recycling/reusing 

U.S. History: specifically during lessons 2 & 3 connections can be made to the history and treatment of people with disabilities 

EL Education

EL Education ( ) is an open-source literacy curriculum. 

This art project supports the ideas and learning in the following EL Education Modules:


Module 1

Overcoming Learning Challenges Near and Far

This module uses literature and informational text to introduce students to the power of literacy and how people around the world overcome learning challenges.




Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.

VA:Cr1.1.3a: Elaborate on an imaginative idea. (Lesson 1-5, creating a sculpture with recycled objects & painting it) 

Anchor Standard 2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.

VA:Cr2.1.3a: Create personally satisfying artwork using a variety of artistic processes and materials. (Lesson 1-5, creating a sculpture with recycled objects & painting it) 

Anchor Standard 3: Refine and complete artistic work.

VA:Cr3.1.5a: Create artist statements using art vocabulary to describe personal choices in artmaking. (lesson 5, creating an artist statement) 


Anchor Standard 7: Perceive and analyze artistic work

VA:Re.7.1.3a: Speculate about processes an artist uses to create a work of art. (Lesson 1-4, discussing the inspiration image) 

VA:Re.7.2.3a: Determine messages communicated by an image. (Lesson 1-4, discussing the inspiration image)

Anchor Standard 9: Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work.

VA:Re9.1.3a : VA:Re8.1.1a :Evaluate an artwork based on given criteria. (lesson 3 & 5, student artist presentations) 


form, color, value, texture


Pattern, proportion/scale, balance 

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