Visual Arts: Andy Goldsworthy

Grade level: K‐12
Duration: Six 45‐minute class periods
Media Type: Found Objects, Sculpture
Subject Integration: Science
National Standards for Visual Arts: (see below)
Students will create their own Lake Superior driftwood sculpture after studying the work of artist Andy Goldsworthy and local artists, Jennifer Szczyrbak and David Everett.

Students will demonstrate an understanding of 2‐D and 3‐D sculptural building techniques inspired by both local and national sculpture artists, incorporating a variety of found objects into a completed sculpture.
(website for help with writing rubrics)


4 ‐ Standards are exceeded
3 ‐ Standards are met
2 ‐ Standards may be met at a very low quality or with some exceptions
1 ‐ Standards are not met or work is not attempted or very poorly done


  • rubric sculpture
  • environmentalist
  • 2‐D
  • 3‐D
  • found objects
  • recycle
  • land art texture
  • medium (materials)

Materials and Procedure:

Lake Superior shoreline, or other shoreline, river, stream, etc. containing driftwood, rocks, leaves, pebbles, ice, etc.

Day 1:
1. Give brief introduction of sculpture. Discuss the meaning of 2‐Dimensional objects and 3‐Dimensional objects. Show slides of various sculptures both 2‐ D and 3‐D. Begin class discussion: “What do you see?” “How does it make you feel?” “What does it remind you of?” “What materials did the artist use?”

2. Show PlayList videos:

Sculptor David Everett's Recycling Project (3:14)
Jennifer Szczyrbak - Painter / Sculptor (3:35)

3. Discussion: “What did you notice about Jennifer’s and David’s work?” “Do you know any sculptors?” “Have you ever seen artwork by Jennifer or David?” “What did you notice about their work?” “Did anything about their work speak to you?” “What else did you see?”

4. Start Andy Goldsworthy video, Rivers and Tides. Ask students to take notes while watching DVD. Students write down 20 things they see/learn by watching Andy create. Video is 90 minutes long, so you may want to show the full video, or only parts of it.

Day 2:
Continue Andy Goldsworthy’s video, Rivers and Tides. Students continue jotting down things they see / learn from watching Andy create sculptures from nature.

Day 3:
Review Day 1 and Day 2. Finish watching Rivers and Tides.

Day 4:
Spend time discussing film, Rivers and Tides. View others works by Andy Goldworthy. Show slides of his work and discuss. Pass out sketch paper and pencils and have students sketch “land art” or ideas for what they might want to create with found objects outside of the classroom. Have students work in groups to discuss their ideas. At end of class time, students can present their ideas to the rest of the class.

Day 5:
Take field trip to Lake Superior beach or similar body of water (or nearby river of stream) containing interesting found objects such as rocks, driftwood, leaves, pebbles, ice, etc. Quickly review / recap previous discussions about sculpture, found object artists, etc.

Discuss rules / expectations: being respectful to nature, staying in certain confines of park, river, stream, lake area, etc.

Let students create! Take pictures of student’s building process. Encourage students to create and then recreate. Encourage students to build on their own, or as a group. Mill around and assist when needed. Take pictures of each student with one of their favorite sculptures.

Day 6:
Show digital images of students with their work. Discuss. “What did you like about creating work from found objects?” “How was it different than, say, painting in a classroom?” “How did you feel creating work outside?” “What did you find fulfilling?” “What did you find to be difficult?” “How did you feel about leaving your artwork behind as apposed to creating it in a classroom and keeping it?” “If you get the chance in the future, would you create more ‘land art’?”



  • Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature
  • Andy Goldsworthy: Time
  • Andy Goldsworthy: Wood Andy Goldsworthy: Passage Andy Goldsworthy: Stone Andy Goldsworthy: Enclosure Andy Goldsworthy: Arch
  • Andy Goldsworthy: Hand to Earth
  • Andy Goldsworthy: Midsummer Snowballs
  • Andy Goldsworthy: Wall: At Storm King

Follow‐up activities:

  • Print off student work and give photograph to each student. Have each student write their own Artist Statement about their work.
  • Create a school wide outdoor art museum. Students create land art and share it with the rest of the school. Hold an “Art Opening” for family and community members.
  • Pair up classrooms and have one class teach another about Andy Goldsworthy. Create public land art in a nearby park or on school grounds.
  • Put students into groups and have them create posters about a land artist. Do research about environmental artwork, outdoor parks, artwork that is meant to be seen in nature (artist Dale Chihuly), etc.

National Standards for Visual Arts:

Content Standard #1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
Achievement Standard:
Students know the differences between materials, techniques, and processes. Students describe how different materials, techniques, and processes cause different responses. Students use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories. Students use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner.

Content Standard #2: Using knowledge of structures and functions
Achievement Standard:
Students know the differences among visual characteristics and purposes of art in order to convey ideas. Students describe how different expressive features and organizational principles cause different responses. Students use visual structures and functions of art to communicate ideas.

Content Standard #3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
Achievement Standard:
Students explore and understand prospective content for works of art. Students select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

Content Standard #4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Achievement Standard:
Students know that the visual arts have both a history and specific relationships to various cultures. Students identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places. Students demonstrate how history, culture, and the visual arts can influence each other in making and studying works of art.

Content Standard #5: Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others
Achievement Standard:
Students understand there are various purposes for creating works of visual art.
Students describe how people's experiences influence the development of specific artworks. Students understand there are different responses to specific artworks.

Content Standard #6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines
Achievement Standard:
Students understand and use similarities and differences between characteristics of the visual arts and other arts disciplines. Students identify connections between the visual arts and other disciplines in the curriculum.

Funding for this program is provided by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Click here for more information or visit the Minnesota Legacy website.

Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment