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Assembling Identity: Multimedia Collage Self-Portraits

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This lesson plan was developed by Assemble in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as part of the Share and Spread Connected Learning Collection, organized by The Sprout Fund with the generous support of the MacArthur Foundation.

You can download a PDF of this lesson plan and its supporting materials on RemakeLearning.org.

Developed by: Jess Gold
Subjects: Social Studies, Fine Arts
Estimated Time: 2 sessions, each 1-2 hours long
Grade Level: 6-8


About This Lesson Plan:
In this two-session activity, middle school students will create a mixed media, identity-based self-portrait involving collage and sewn circuit components. The final self-portrait will make visual connections between aspects of the artist’s identity and will involve a lit LED. 


About Assemble:
Assemble is a 501(c)3 non-profit located in Garfield, a neighborhood in Pittsburgh’s East End, that is dedicated to providing an on-ramp to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics in the community. We offer daily educational programs to youth throughout Pittsburgh, both in our 4824 Penn Avenue space and at local schools and community centers. Our programs provide a platform for experiential learning, open creative processes, and building confidence through making.


 Pro Tips:
This deceptively simple lesson plan features a great STEAM activity: students will learn about electricity and circuits, and they’ll also articulate the characteristics that comprise their self identities. Consider using this in a science class where students are beginning to study circuits: Consider how you might use the sewing activity to help students illustrate connections between other related concepts or ideas. Similarly, consider using this activity in an ELA class or Social Studies class as you discuss fictional characters or historical figures: how might you use a similar sewing activity to illustrate these characters’ motivations, interests, or actions?

Creative Commons Licence