Activity Introduction

cc-primary14-heroQuick summary: During this lesson students explore the patterns of natural objects found in the school yard. Students take photos and collect a range of these objects, and in particular a range of leaves with different patterns. Students discuss the importance of trees to our environment and to ourselves, and create a clay leaf bowl from their collected leaves with the intentions of communicating messages about conserving and protecting trees to a wider audience.

This lesson is designed to be taught outside. It contains all the tools required for students to reap the benefits of being outdoors while learning the outcomes of the Australian Curriculum. By spending time outdoors and connecting to nature, students are more likely to care for and conserve nature as adults.


Essential questions:

  • Why are trees important?
  • How do seasons and the weather affect trees?
  • How can you use clay to create a functional sculpture?
  • What are the mental, physical and academic benefits of completing classroom activities outside?

21st century skills:

leaf bowls skills

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Years 3 & 4 Visual Arts

  • Use materials, techniques and processes to explore visual conventions when making artworks (ACAVAM111)

Syllabus outcomes: VAS2.2.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.

Relevant parts of Year 3 & 4 Arts achievement standards: Students plan and make artworks and use visual conventions, techniques and processes to communicate their ideas.

Topic: Outdoor Learning, Biodiversity.

Unit of work: Outdoor Learning Unit.

Time required: 60 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – the teacher reads a picture book, leads and guides discussions, demonstrates art techniques, and gives feedback to students.

Resources required: 1 clay slab/piece of clay for each student (see Teacher Content Information for more details), bamboo skewers, clipboards covered with cling film/newspaper, plastic bowls or bowls lined with cling film, kiln or oven (unless you are using air-dry clay). Rolling pins (optional). Portable easel/whiteboard (optional). Compass Image.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Keywords: Sustainability, nature, outdoor, tree, leaf, seasons, art, design, clay, sculpture, bowl, outdoor learning.

Cool Australia would like to thank The Albert George & Nancy Caroline Youngman Trust – managed by Equity Trustees.

Youngman Trust Logo

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

cc-primary9-heroTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students understand why trees need leaves and begin to identify the many functions that leaves serve. Students understand and develop new techniques for creating and presenting artworks, and understand how they can use artworks to express ideas and convey messages about protecting trees.

Outdoor learning information:

Outdoor Learning Series:


To help guide teachers through suggested activities in this lesson, we have developed a series of icons designed to show what types of activities are involved and where these activities may take place (see Learning Activity Key below).

learning activity icons key updated-v3

This lesson is designed to support students and teachers undertaking the Outdoor Learning Unit. Click here to view the Unit Outline.

Teacher content information: Learning

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