Lesson Plan: Torn Paper Collage

Last updated: January 24, 2013

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Dog sniffing a backpack.

Technology Level: Classroom based.

Audience: Ages 9-13

Duration: 70 minutes


This lesson aims to help students understand that everything we do has an impact on the world somewhere. This lesson aims to raise students’ awareness of these impacts and hope to encourage them to express their feelings or thoughts through art.

Students will create a torn paper collage. The central part of the collage will be an animal of their choice. The background surrounding the animal will consist of torn paper pictures/articles relating to human impact, both positive and negative, on animals.


  1. Magazines, articles, newspapers, journals that will provide stories about human impact on animals: national geographic, wildlife etc.
  2. Access to computers for research into human impact on animals.
  3. Paper, cardboard, glue, and assorted materials for presenting art work.


  1. Lesson Plan BLM – Chief Seattle Quote
  2. Samples of torn paper collages
  3. Sample animal outlines


Lesson Procedure
Topic Notes
1.Introduction (5 mins)  
1.1 All things connect(5 mins)

1.1 Teacher introduces topic by reading quote:

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread in it. Whatever we do to the web we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect”.

Class discussion:

  • What does this mean?
  • What things to we do that affect other living things?

Bring into the conversation the impact on animals if the students don’t bring this up themselves.

Discuss how this quote can be related to the affect humans have on animals.

2 Body (60 mins)


2.1 Introduce torn paper collage(5 mins)

2.1 Teacher introduces focus activity. Suggested dialogue as follows:

  • We are going to explore these and other ideas through the form of torn paper collage
  • Remember our quote from the beginning of the lesson?
  • (Show students the quote again – have this large enough for the whole class to see at all times)
  • Our collage is going to represent the impact humans have on animals.
  • You will choose an animal to create your collage around.
  • This could any animal including (but not restricted to) pets, native animals or an endangered species.
2.2 Research25 mins)

2.2 Teacher will give the students the task of researching stories, articles, pictures etc that show the impact that humans have on animals. They need to come back with a number of different articles/pictures etc that will be able to be torn up and placed into their collage. You may choose to provide magazines that can be cut up or extend this activity by incorporating a technology segment.

Technology extension

If choosing to incorporate technology: the students will need to use the internet to source the information and pictures – there are some great images and stories on the WOAW website and they are all age appropriate.

2.3 Creating the Collage (30 mins)

2.3 Remind them that not all impact is negative.

Explain the activity using the following steps

  • Show the students a sample of a torn paper collage – see Resource 3 for examples
  • Create the outline (there are examples that can be used in Resource 4)
  • Tear up the pictures, articles etc.
  • Glue them in place around the animal outline
  • Frame/present your collage as part of a collective to be displayed under the quote used at the start of the lesson.
3 Conclusion(5 mins)  
3.1 Clean-up and discussion/reflection (5 mins)

3.1 Teacher leads class discussion about the students discoveries.

  • What did you learn?
  • What did you do well?
  • Will this knowledge impact on the way you do things?
  • If so how?
  • If not why?

Curriculum Links

Curriculum Links for this lesson
Key Learning area Curriculum link
The Arts

3.2 Students present media texts to a specified audience using presentation techniques associated with particular media forms.

6.3a Students evaluate how contextual influences can contribute to personal interpretations of media.

6.3b Students evaluate social, political and economic influences operating on the production of public, commercial and independent media.

Visual Art
VA 3.1 Students design, make and modify images and objects applying elements and additional concepts to construct intended meanings.

VA 3.2 Students make and display images and objects, understanding the functions of informal and formal display.

VA 3.3 Students compare elements and additional concepts of images and objects from a variety of cultural and historical contexts.

VA 4.1 Students deconstruct and reconstruct images and objects to manipulate meaning through explorations of elements and additional concepts.

VA 4.2 Students make and display images and objects, considering purposes and audiences.

VA 5.1a Students make images and objects to express personal responses to researched ideas.


Life and Living
3.1 Students draw conclusions about the relationship between features of living things and the environments in which they live.

3.3 Students describe some interactions (including feeding relationships) between living things and between living and non-living parts of the environment.


Enhancing Personal Development
3.1 Students explain how different ways of describing people, including stereotyping of males and females, influence the way people value and treat themselves and others.
3.2 Students develop and implement strategies, including codes of behaviour, to promote relationships in various groups and situations.

4.1 Students evaluate the influence on self concept and self-esteem of their own and others’ behaviours, including recognition of achievement and changes in responsibilities.

4.2 Students explore different types of relationships and evaluate standards of behaviour considered appropriate for these relationships.

Suggested Extension Activities

  1. Break into small groups and come up with a list of ‘stories’ they know of that show how humans have an impact on animals. Encourage them to think about things they have seen on the news, read in the paper, heard about on the school grounds. Share these stories with the whole class.
  2. Analyse pictures: Sample script for introducing images: “We are going to look at some images that show the different kinds of impacts that humans can have on animals. I want you to think about what the picture is trying to tell you. Some of them are obvious some are a little more subtle”.
    • The teacher will show the students some images of human impact on animals (both positive and negative). Break the class into small groups. Hand out one picture to each group and ask them to analyse what is happening in the picture. What kind of impact do we see that humans have had on this animal? Groups share their findings with the class.
  3. Hold an exhibition of their collages for the school.
  4. Write the story of their animal on the back of the collage or on another sheet below the collage.
  5. Find other quotes to support the message the students are trying to send.
  6. Positive negative collage: Create the collage inside the outline with articles and pictures. Create the ideal, natural background or environment for your collage animal on the outside of the outline eg if the animal is a dolphin, the students would collage the dolphin and create the background as an ideal environment (clean seascape) using paint, pencils, crayon, material collage.
  7. Create a class book of all the collages.

Suggestions for Adapting this Lesson for Lower or Higher Year Levels

  • This lesson could easily be adapted for lower year levels by providing outlines of animals and the magazines, articles and pictures to tear up, examples of animal outlines can be found in Resource 4.
  • Group discussions can be tailored around an article or a picture.
  • Stories can be read to show how humans have an impact on animals. Class discussion can be focused on a character in the story.

The RSPCA have many articles regarding human impact on animals in their newsletter Imprint which can be found on WOAW.

  • Higher year levels can use the activity to explore a range of art styles and elements of art in depth.
  • Students can experiment with a broader range of materials and methods of creating collage.
  • Their outline can be turned into a real-life sketch, painting or portrait of an animal.
  • Extend the idea into creating a 3D collage.
  • This lesson can be used to launch into action for animals, or animal welfare studies. Encourage the students to make community links with local animal refuges.


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