This lesson is very fun because it uses recycling, painting, assemblage, and glow-in-the-dark wiggle eyes!
Step one: Make hand-painted paper using various metallic paints. I pre-cut the papers to half-sheets (6x9) and let the students paint four sheets each. At least have to use more than one metallic color, maybe striped or using some other pattern. The other two sheets can be one solid color each. The papers need time to dry, so it is best to paint when finishing up another lesson or before starting a mini-lesson.
If you plan to do a lot of work with painted papers, it might be a good idea to have a paper painting day. Paint lots of 6 x 9 papers, metallic and others, to suit whatever painted paper lessons you have planned for the year or the next few weeks. They make great collage papers, background papers, etc., and the scraps work well towards the end of the year when you have limited supplies to work with. After the papers dry, give each student a "folder" to keep their papers in so that they will have them available for future projects.
Step two: Either bring in or have students bring in small boxes, like those from jello, powdered water flavorings, toothpaste, etc. These boxes are perfect for making small robots.
Step three: Use the boxes to trace onto the painted paper (unpainted side). Trace around the boxes, using all sides. The traced shapes get cut out and glued onto the box sides to make the robot metallic. As an extra step, smaller pieces of paper can be cut to put on the edges of the box seams. Also cut smaller pieces in different colors to make eyebrows, control panels, etc. Glue all the detail pieces onto the robot. Remind students that this is a 3D object, so they should add details to all sides!
Step four: Use metallic markers to add dials, buttons, rivets, etc.
Step five: Twist metallic pipe cleaners around pencils to get spring legs and arms, or even antennae.
Step six: Glue on the pipe cleaners (with hot glue) and glue on the wiggle eyes (with either Elmer's or hot glue).
Here are some student robots: