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Visual Art Analysis


6th, 7th, 8th




120 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New Jersey


Google Docs, Google Slides

The Art of Climate Change

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Sep 23, 2022



In this lesson, students investigate the effectiveness of visual art in addressing climate change. 

Step 1 - Inquire: Teacher asks students to think about the ways that art about climate change impacts audiences differently from factual information. What ways can visual art specifically be used to address climate change?


Step 2 - Investigate: Students simulate organizing an art show around the issue of climate change, with some students representing artists and others representing museum curators. Students will research to prepare for their roles.


Step 3 - Inspire: Students who researched an artist will present their work. Students who developed the criteria will evaluate their work.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
15 minutes

  • Teacher reviews the concept of climate change and the scientific consensus on planetary warming.

  • Teacher asks students what is the best way to communicate the information on climate change to motivate people to take action.

  • Teacher shares an infographic explaining global warming.

  • Teacher also shares the poem “Earthrise” by Amanda Gorman.

  • Students think-pair-share how the two ways of communicating about a similar issue have different impacts on the audience.

  • Teacher shares the Time magazine cover on climate change that features Jill Pelto’s work that uses art to illustrate data. Teacher asks, “Why use art to illustrate the urgency of this issue?”

  • Teacher asks, “What is the role of visual artists in addressing climate change?”

45 minutes
  • Teacher explains the “Art World Simulation” that involves planning a show at The Climate Museum, highlighting the most important and powerful work being made about climate change today.

  • Students in groups #1-6 research and prepare a 5-minute presentation about their artist, using the template provided.

  • Students in group #7 prepare a rubric to evaluate the artists’ presentation for inclusion in the show.

60 minutes
  • Teacher sets up the room to allow for the curators to sit together as a panel with their rubrics on hand and ready for scoring.

  • Students who are curators share a description of the show.

  • Students who are artists do a short presentation of their work.

  • Students who are curators score presentations.

  • Students who are curators provide feedback to the artists at the end of the presentations.

  • The class discusses the outcome of the simulation.

  • Students write a reflection and complete a self-assessment.

Teaching Tips


  • Students learn that art can be used to address issues that are usually just discussed in scientific terms.

  • Students learn about a variety of artists whose work deals with climate change.

  • Students can begin to visualize ways that they might make art about climate change, which can serve as a subsequent lesson.

  • This lesson is interactive and simulates a real-world situation in the art world, requiring a variety of skills.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This lesson can be paired with or follow a more in-depth discussion of climate change science.

  • Students should know how to use Google Slides or a similar type of presentation format.

  • Students should have a basic familiarity with rubrics.


  • Teachers can provide instruction multimodally.

  • Teachers can preview vocabulary with ESL students.

  • Teachers can follow up with questions to ensure comprehension.

  • Teachers can pair students with helpful peers.

  • It can be beneficial for developing students’ interpersonal skills if groups were randomized.

Scientist Notes

Simply put, not everyone is swayed by a scientific expert. Often it takes other means to convey a message to someone. That is why is an integral part of climate change communication. Art, scientifically, has a different impact on our thoughts and decision-making than hearing a lecture from an expert. This lesson explores different climate change art projects and shows their potential to reach audiences. This lesson has passed the scientific review process.

  • Visual & Performing Arts
    • Visual Arts: Standard 11 - Relating artistic ideas and works within societal, cultural, and historical contexts to deepen understanding.
      • 1.5.8.Cn11b: Analyze and contrast how art forms are used to reflect global issues, including climate change.


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