Grade Level
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12


1 hour


Gift Ideas
Student Gifts
Summer Camp
Teacher Gifts

  • Students use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions.

  • Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.


Act of kindness
Civic Engagement




Lesson Handout


Encouraging kindness can make a big difference in the community and culture of your school! In this activity, students consider a person or group whose bucket they’d like to fill with kindness. They use the Glowforge app to create a customized design for their bucket, then print, fill, and deliver these gestures of kindness to their recipients.


Thematic Questions:

  • How can we promote kindness in our school and community?
  • How does being kind make our community stronger and healthier?


Students will…

  • Identify a person or group who will receive the act of kindness.
  • Create a list of items to include in a bucket that promotes well-being or happiness.
  • Customize a bucket with a meaningful design and quote for the recipient.
  • Write a letter of gratitude to the recipient.
  • Encourage others to pass on kindness.


ISTE Standards for Students 
  1. Innovative Designer– Students use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful, or imaginative solutions.
  2. Creative Communicator– Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats, and digital media appropriate to their goals.


For each bucket you will need:

Catalog Designs

Movie Night Popcorn Bucket


Lesson Outline:

Get Ready:

  1. Read through the activity details to review the steps for completing the activity. 
  2. Note that there are 2 designs associated with this activity. Refer to the key below:
    • Print 1 – (p1. White Medium Acrylic) Movie Night Popcorn Bucket
    • Print 2 – (p2. Red Medium Acrylic) Movie Night Popcorn Bucket
  3. Gather all of the materials needed to print the design. 
  4. Familiarize yourself with the Glowforge app’s Trace and Print tool.
  5. Consider how many buckets your class will be creating. Is it one bucket from the whole class, several buckets from small groups, or one bucket from each student?
    • The completed size of this design is 5” x 6.5” x 5”. It doesn’t require a lot of filler and can hold small gifts or candy.   
  6. Print copies of the Bucket Fillers handout for each student or group.
  7. Read the article “Why Teaching Kindness in Schools Is Essential to Reducing Bullying” from Edutopia. It describes the benefits of students learning about and actively participating in creating acts of altruism.
  8. Consider printing an example bucket for your classroom. 

Production Time:

Print – 23 minutes

Assemble – 30 minutes


Use this optional rubric for student self-reflection or formative feedback throughout the Bucket Fillers experience.

Lesson Instructions

Section 1 – Plan:

  1. Show students the video Kindness Boomerang – “One Day” and ask: “What messages about kindness does the video share?” Give students time to think and time to share with the class. Some of the messages they might identify are:
    • Kindness is contagious. 
    • Treat others the way you want to be treated. 
    • Have empathy for people who are different from you.
  2. Have students turn to a classmate and share a personal connection they made with the video. For example, a student may share a recent experience where someone showed them kindness or one way they show kindness to others similar to one in the video. If students get stuck, encourage them to start with sharing something they found interesting from the video.
  3. Give students time to share several of these connections with the class. As students share, ask them questions to prompt them to give more details about their experiences. 
    • If a student received an act of kindness, ask them how it made them feel. 
    • If a student showed someone else an act of kindness, ask them how it made them feel. 

As students share, write words associated with their feelings or actions on the whiteboard or a piece of chart paper.

  1. Ask: “What do you notice about receiving kindness from others, as well as showing kindness to others?” Students will likely notice that both people giving and receiving kindness experience positive feelings. Highlight this connection for students. 
  2. Tell students they will be encouraging kindness in their school community by filling someone’s bucket with kindness.  Have students revisit the ideas shared earlier to determine criteria for nominating whose bucket they want to fill. 
    • Did the person do something of note? 
    • Does the person need a pick-me-up after a tough time?
    • Does the person need to be appreciated?
  3. In small groups, have students come up with nominees from the school community. If the class is creating one bucket to fill, have students share their nominees with the class and then vote to select one recipient. 
  4. Have students research and select a quote on kindness and use a piece of paper to sketch ideas for the bucket they will give to their recipient. Random Acts of Kindness has a page of quotes students can explore for inspiration.
  5. Have students brainstorm and make a list of items that they would like to include in their recipient’s bucket. Encourage students to make things, find items in the Glowforge app or Design Catalog to print out, or fill the bucket with genuine compliments for the recipient. 
  6. To accompany the bucket, have students write a short note to their recipient. The note might include things like:
    • Why they chose their recipient
    • What they included in the bucket
    • How acts of kindness make the world a better place

Students should end their note by encouraging the recipient to refill the bucket and pass the kindness along! 

Section 2 – Customize and Create:

  1. Show students your example bucket. Ask: “What do you notice about the way that this bucket is constructed?” Students might notice that it is made from two contrasting pieces of acrylic and that the cut-away designs on the top layer allow the second layer to show through. 
  2. Give each student or group the Bucket Fillers handout. 
  3. Encourage students to use their earlier sketches to design a unique bucket using one of two options:
    • Students can draw a design directly on the handout and then use the Trace and Print tool in the Glowforge app to customize their bucket. Alternatively, they can add fonts and graphics directly in the Glowforge Print App, or use a design program such as Inkscape. Remember, when uploading, SVG and PDF files can be cut away, PNG and JPEG files can only be engraved so they will not show the acrylic on the second layer. 
    • Students can use the handout to plan their design and then use the icons, shapes, text tools, and upload artwork options in the Glowforge app to customize their bucket. 
  4. Open the Print 1 file in the Glowforge app. Students will not need to manipulate the Print 2 file. 
  5. Have students ungroup all the items in Print 1. Remind them not to delete the outline of the design. Rather, they should delete all the interior lines and the popcorn logo. Younger students may need help from an adult.
  6. Select the Plus + button to add text, icons, shapes, or artwork to the print. Students should position the items where they want them to appear on the bucket. 
  7. Before printing the final bucket, print a test print of the customized design on cardboard. Just remember that if the design uses joinery such as slots or finger joints, these may need to be adjusted to suit the prototyping materials. Check that the text and icon are clear and legible. Encourage students to resize and make changes to text and icons before the final print.
  8. Print the finalized design and assemble it according to the directions in the Glowforge app.
  9. If using draftboard, have students decorate the finalized print with paint, markers, or other craft items. 

Section 3 – Use:

  1. Have students collect and arrange their gifts in their bucket. Make sure they include the note for their recipient.
  2. Have students deliver the buckets to their recipients or arrange for the recipient to pick it up.

Reflection Questions:

  • What is something you learned doing this activity that you could pass on to someone else? Would you encourage others to do this activity and what are the benefits?
  • Where is one place in the school that needs more kindness? What can you do to help kindness spread?
  • What did you learn about creating a design in the Glowforge app? What might you do differently the next time you customize a design? 

Pro Tips:

  • Have students create a hashtag to add to their design so that the recipient can post about the bucket they receive on social media. Your class can track where the bucket travels as each new recipient passes it to someone else, inspiring the community to carry on the kindness.
  • Acrylic is a great surface for dry-erase markers. Consider creating a multi purpose bucket with a space to write in a recipient’s name. 
  • Consider using 2x Draftboard so students can customize their bucket with paint, markers or other crafting materials. 
  • If creating prototypes prior to doing final prints, use cardboard for test prints. Just remember that if the design uses joinery such as slots or finger joints, these may need to be adjusted to suit the prototyping materials.
  • As an alternative to using the Kindness Boomerang – “One Day” video and associated activity, try one of the Kick-Start Kindness activities from Edutopia. 
  • February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. Plan ahead and deliver your buckets to celebrate this day of kindness!


  • How might we use this design as a fundraiser for classes, teams, or clubs? Use the Glowforge App to resize the design to create a bigger bucket and fill it with locally-made goodies or  family-friendly movie treats and raffle it off at Parent Night, athletic events, or as an upsell at the concession stand.
  • How might we celebrate a big event in a school community member’s life? Create a customized bucket for an acceptance into a specialized program, a promotion, an engagement, a wedding, or even a new parent. Have students and staff fill the bucket with notes of encouragement and advice and present the bucket to the recipient.
  • Organization is everything! How could these buckets be utilized as organizational tools throughout the school? Organize pens, markers, paintbrushes, paper clips, or other tools. Or, even use them to organize lockers. 


  • Use the customized bucket to collect ideas for random acts of kindness. Students write ideas for random acts of kindness on index cards or strips of paper. Fold them and fill the bucket. Each week, have one student select the class’s “secret kindness mission.” Have students record what they did, for whom, and how it made them feel in a Random Acts of Kindness class journal like the Magical Things Journal created with Glowforge! 
  • Add an item like pom poms or marbles to the class bucket every time someone reports or witnesses a random act of kindness in the classroom. When the bucket is full, allow the class to choose a kindness reward, like extra time at recess, the library, or the maker space.

Meet Glowforge

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