Recycle Inventions

Recycle Inventions lesson plan

The creative inventions of Leonardo daVinci inspire imaginative problem-solving as you design, construct, and paint your own invention.

  • 1.

    Study Leonardo daVinci's drawings of flying machines. When were these inventions conceptualized? How are they similar to today's flight vehicles? How do they differ?

  • 2.

    Collect recyclables such as wood and foam produce trays. Sketch your ideas for an invention made with these recycled items. Start with an idea and fit the materials to it, or look at the items and decide what to make.

  • 3.

    Arrange your materials in the shape of your invention. Glue parts together with Crayola® School Glue, using masking tape to hold the structure in place temporarily if necessary. Dry overnight, then remove the tape.

  • 4.

    Use Crayola Model Magic to add details to your invention. Dry 24 hours.

  • 5.

    Cover your work area with recycled newspaper. Paint your invention with Crayola Tempera and Brushes. Mix colors to achieve the effects you want.

  • 6.

    On an index card, write the name, description, and instructions for using your invention with Crayola Washable Markers.


  • LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.
  • LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • LA: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • SCI: Investigate the motion of objects to determine observable and measurable patterns to predict future motions.
  • SCI: Construct a simple explanation for the relationship between energy and motion.
  • VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.
  • VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.


  • Possible classroom resources include: Big Book of Airplanes by DK Publishing; High Times: A History of Aviation by Golden Cosmos; The Wright Brothers by Quentin Reynolds; Leonardo da Vinci for Kids: His Life and Ideas by Janis Herbert
  • Students work in teams to recreate one of Leonardo daVinci's inventions using recycled materials. Consider what knowledge daVinci needed to envision his idea. Students discuss this and organize an oral presentation to share with classmates.
  • Students compose an original story about their invention. Illustrate it with step-by-step sketches of the creative process. Be prepared to present your invention to classmates.