Collecting Lesson 1: Introduction

Collecting in Everyday Life
 Class Brainstorm completed at Arsenal Middle School

This lesson introduces students to the basic concept of collecting. First, students use brainstorming strategies and discussion to understand why an artist might be inspired to collect, and then through two activities, Pocket Project and Collecting Homework, they explore and display their own collecting practices.

Suggested Time Frame:

Introductory Class Presentation: 45 minutes
Activity 1, Pocket Project: 45-90 minutes
Activity 2, Collecting homework: 2-4 days
Assessment of Pocket Project (or homework): 45 minutes

Total time: 2-3 class periods  


  • Students create webs about collecting
  • Students classify ideas into categories 
  • Students develop rationales for collecting from an artist’s perspective
  • Students collect and presenting objects based upon assigned criteria
  • Students compile data from collected objects
  • Students summarize collections with descriptive language
  • Students assess strategies of collecting
  • Students determine future criteria for a personal collection

Materials & Handouts

Brainstorming Web  Brainstorming List Overview: Artists & Collecting What’s in Your Pocket?  
Projector (digital or overhead)Copier (xerox or scanner/printer)Pencils or pens

Warm-up Activity: Brainstorming Web for Collecting

  1. Print student handout: Brainstorming Web  . Create Brainstorming Webs on the blackboard as a group or individually on paper to reveal multiple ideas about collecting. Discuss the webs. Where do you see connections? What can you group together?
  2. Print student handout: Brainstorming List . List the ideas about collecting from the previous webs under each category: Personal, Professional and Institutional Collecting.  
Handout Artists and Collecting overview
Handout Artists and Collecting overview


  1. Hypothesize and discuss why artists use collecting in their practices.
  2. Present the handout: Overview: Artists & Collecting  using a digital projector or print onto a transparency to use with an overhead projector.
  3. Discuss the following using the handout:
  4. - Collecting is a visual activity and fundamentally about seeing and perceiving things together, whether they are objects, images or sounds.

    - Collecting is a means of discovery.

    - Collecting provides ways to understand and organize our chaotic world.

    - Collecting permits a person to explore and reveal personal, human and societal patterns, connections and associations.

Pocket project xerox from a museum visitor
Pocket project xerox from a museum visitor

Collecting Activities

Choose one or both of the activities to do with your students. 

Activity 1: Pocket Project

  1. Students empty out the contents of their pockets and answer the following:
  2. - Describe what these objects are.

    - If someone came across this xerox/scan and didn’t know you, what could they tell about you (or your class)?

    - If someone 100 years from now came across your class’ collection of objects, what could that person tell about your class as a group?

    - What would this person learn about the time in which this collection was created?

    - What information is not revealed in these objects?

  3. Make a photocopy of each student’s possessions.
  4. Hang up the photocopied images.
  5. Draw conclusions about your class based upon the objects. Use the handout: What’s in Your Pocket?  
Class collection of round objects
Class collection of round objects

Activity 2: Collecting Homework

  1. Collect things that are the same color or shape (over a weekend or 2-3 days).
  2. After allotted time has passed, have students present their objects and put together a class collection.
  3. Discuss and analyze the class collection using the following questions:
  4. - What was collected? Make a list.

    - Use adjectives and descriptive language to summarize this collection as a complete grouping.

    - Do you like this collection of objects?

    - What is missing from the group?

    - How did you go about collecting? What was your strategy?

    - How would you change the criteria of your collection to make it more interesting?


Warhol Education Rubrics

Click the Warhol Rubric headers below to reveal associated rubrics to which this lesson applies.

Critical Thinking
Creative Process
Student Showcase
Collecting Projects: Steel Valley High SchoolCollecting Projects:Pleasant Hills Middle School