New Lesson Plans: Integrating Arts and Climate Change in the Classroom
September 26, 2019

When teaching about the climate crisis, the stakes could not be higher—not only do we want students to learn scientific content to understand causes and impacts, we are also asking students to take on a burden of past generations’ inaction and work towards solutions for a problem that they had no role in creating. That’s a lot—both emotionally and intellectually—and we believe the creative process is an effective tool to not only help students learn and think critically, but also to help them process difficult emotions like “eco-anxiety.”

As a part of our brand-new Resource Studio, we have developed several lesson plans to support educators who want to bring climate change topics into their classrooms; encourage conversations that stimulate global awareness, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving; and excite their students about participating in the Ocean Awareness Contest.

These lessons were designed for middle and high school teachers of any subject, as well as for informal educators or youth program leaders. We have seen teachers effectively use the Ocean Awareness Contest as a learning tool in every subject, including Spanish, social studies, math, and of course, science and art.

Activities to Introduce Climate Change
The following lessons were designed to introduce climate change to students. They are a great way to assess prior knowledge and get your students excited about the unit. In Gallery Walk, students will enter the classroom set up like an art gallery and use a See, Think, Wonder chart to observe the artwork. In Crop It, students will use a small frame tool to observe the details within artwork and think critically about the effects of climate change, particularly on coastal communities and marine ecosystems.

View Gallery Walk lesson plan and handouts >

View Crop It lesson plan and handouts >

Full Class Lesson to Spark Conversation about Climate Change
The following full-class lesson is an opportunity to use visible thinking strategies to engage with a reading on climate change (using an existing reading you bring into your class or find a new reading from our Resource Studio). The Color, Symbol, Image strategy highlighted in this lesson is a meaningful way to help students process the emotions that arise when learning some of the devastating (and yes, frightening!) effects of climate change. The Inner/Outer Circle discussion strategy is a means for students to further process and share their feelings and opinions in several one-on-one conversations with classmates.

View Color, Symbol, Image lesson plan and handouts >

Guide to Introduce the 2020 Ocean Awareness Contest, Climate Hope: Transforming Crisis

Maybe you already have your curriculum set, or maybe you are not ready to include a whole unit on climate change into your class, but you still want your students to participate in the Ocean Awareness Contest. Or maybe you would love to include the Ocean Awareness Contest into your curriculum, but you just don’t know where you will find the time. These lessons are for you! Check out our handy guide to help you introduce the Ocean Awareness Contest to your class in 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or 45 minutes.

View Guide to Introducing the Ocean Awareness Contest >

If you use these lessons in your classroom, let us know! We’d love to hear how they went or if you have any tips to share with your fellow teachers. And don’t forget to nominate yourself or a colleague for an Educator Innovation Award, which recognizes the creative ways that educators incorporate the Ocean Awareness Contest into their curricula.

Happy teaching! You and your students are hope in action!

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New Lesson Plans: Integrating Arts and Climate Change in the Classroom