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Photo by Christian Lue via Unsplash




9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Visual and Performing Arts


480 minutes

Regional Focus

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


Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Youth Climate Hero Portraits (Climate Heroes #3)

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Feb 24, 2024
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In this lesson, students create portraits of youth climate heroes. 

Step 1 - Inquire: Teacher reviews Youth Climate Action (Climate Heroes #2), shows examples of youth climate leader portraits, and discusses their impact.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students research reference images and practice using proportions, composition, colors, and art media.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students create their final “Climate Hero” portrait and create a display.
Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • Students will experience using real-world problems as the sources of their art-making.
  • Students will use their art to impact others through education, influence, and inspiration.
  • This lesson provides numerous choice-based approaches, from the content of the artwork, to the media used, to the composition and presentation of the work.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This is lesson 3 of 3 in our 9th-12th grade Climate Heroes unit.
  • Basic knowledge of drawing/painting art materials is required (such as pencil, colored pencil, pen, watercolor, acrylic, etc.). This lesson should only be attempted after students have some basic media familiarity.
  • Basic understanding of elements of art/principles of design, composition, and use of thumbnails should be established prior to this lesson.
  • Students should have some prior experience drawing facial features such as eyes, nose, mouth, etc.


  • The timing of the lesson can be altered according to teacher preference.

  • The Investigate section offers various supports for students about different art techniques. Teachers can eliminate or add to this depending on student ability.

  • The Investigate section includes an advanced study of portrait composition that is 52 minutes long. It is sectioned into chapters, so teachers can select which clips are most relevant for their class.

  • If students are overwhelmed with choice, teachers can assign a specific type of art media.

Scientist Notes

The content of this lesson plan focuses on artistic techniques and uses climate activists as the inspiration. The activists’ stories and the video featured are accurate. Resources and the bulk of science information come from previous lesson plans in this series. This is recommended for teaching.


This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

Primary Standards

  • Visual & Performing Arts
    • Visual Arts: Standard 1 - Generating and conceptualizing ideas.
      • 1.5.12acc.Cr1b: Choose from a range of materials and methods of traditional and contemporary artistic practices to plan works of art and design.
      • 1.5.12adv.Cr1a: Visualize and generate art and design that can affect social change.
    • Visual Arts: Standard 2 - Organizing and developing ideas.
      • 1.5.12acc.Cr2a: Through experimentation, practice and persistence, demonstrate acquisition of skills and knowledge in a chosen art form.
    • Visual Arts: Standard 3 - Refining and completing products.
      • 1.5.12acc.Cr3a: Engage in constructive critique with peers, then reflect on, re-engage, revise, and refine works of art and design in response to personal artistic vision.
    • Visual Arts: Standard 6 - Conveying meaning through art.
      • 1.5.12adv.Pr6a: Curate a collection of objects, artifacts or artwork to impact the viewer's understanding of social, cultural and/or political experiences.
    • Visual Arts: Standard 7 - Perceiving and analyzing products.
      • 1.5.12acc.Re7b: Evaluate the effectiveness of visual artworks to influence ideas, feelings, and behaviors of specific audiences.
    • Visual Arts: Standard 10 - Synthesizing and relating knowledge and personal experiences to create products.
      • 1.5.12acc.Cn10a: Utilize inquiry methods of observation, research and experimentation to explore other subjects through art-making.
    • Visual Arts: Standard 11 - Relating artistic ideas and works within societal, cultural, and historical contexts to deepen understanding.
      • 1.5.12prof.Cn11b: Describe how knowledge of global issues, including climate change, may influence personal responses to art.
      • 1.5.12acc.Cn11b: Compare uses of art in a variety of societal, cultural and historical contexts and make connections to global issues, including climate change.
      • 1.5.12adv.Cn11b: Assess the impact of an artist or group of artists on global issues, including climate change.


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