Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this activity students are asked to explore how and what they personally think about climate change and to create an artwork that represents how they feel. Students begin by thinking of one word that they associate with climate change and then create a mind map to interrogate the reasons behind why they chose this word. Students then create an artwork based on their word and mind map and present it to the class.

Learning goals:

  • Students understand that climate change is a challenging and complex issue.
  • Students understand that there are many different ways of thinking about climate change.
  • Students recognise that art can be used to interrogate how we think about and respond to issues like climate change.
  • Students understand that art should portray a message or a meaning that can be understood and interpreted by the audience.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social capability.

Australian Curriculum content description:

Year 7 English

  • Use interaction skills when discussing and presenting ideas and information, selecting body language, voice qualities and other elements, (for example music and sound) to add interest and meaning (ACELY1804)
  • Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, selecting aspects of subject matter and particular language, visual, and audio features to convey information and ideas (ACELY1725)
  • Use a range of software, including word processing programs, to confidently create, edit and publish written and multimodal texts (ACELY1728)

Year 8 English

  • Use interaction skills for identified purposes, using voice and language conventions to suit different situations, selecting vocabulary, modulating voice and using elements such as music, images and sound for specific effects (ACELY1808)
  • Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that raise issues, report events and advance opinions, using deliberate language and textual choices, and including digital elements as appropriate (ACELY1736)
  • Use a range of software, including word processing programs, to create, edit and publish texts imaginatively (ACELY1738)

Year 7 & 8 Visual Arts

  • Experiment with visual arts conventions and techniques, including exploration of techniques used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, to represent a theme, concept or idea in their artwork (ACAVAM118)

Syllabus OutcomesEN4-2A, EN4-3B, EN4-4B

Topic: Climate change

Time required: 60 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – oversee activity

Resources required: Internet access, student worksheet, materials for artworks – photography/photo montage (camera, photo editing program, montage materials), movie/animation (movie editing program, animation creation program), music (music recording program), painting/drawing (art materials), graffiti (art materials), textiles (art materials), sculpture (art materials), comic strips (art materials), story (writing materials), mood board (art materials).

Digital technology opportunities: Mind mapping program (e.g. or mindmeister), digital sharing capabilities. Optional – photography/photo montage (digital camera, photo editing program), movie/animation (e.g. iMovie or online e.g. Zimmer Twins), music (music recording program like GarageBand or online e.g. UJAM or Audacity), comic strip (online e.g. Comic master or Canva), story (online e.g. Storybird), mood board (online e.g. Glogster).

Homework and extension opportunities: The artwork in this activity can be completed as homework.

Keywords: Climate change, art, personal response, emotional, mind map.

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


Teacher Worksheet

Overarching learning goal: In this activity students will understand that climate change is a challenging and complex issue and that there are many different ways of thinking about climate change. Students will recognise that art can be used to interrogate how we think about and respond to issues like climate change.

Teacher content information: For the most part, the news we hear about climate change is bad: it's bad for the environment; it's bad for the plants and animals that live in the environment; it's bad for oceans and deserts; it's bad for coral reefs and alpine ecosystems, and it's bad for us humans. In fact, sometimes it can seem so bad that it's very easy to just want to either sink into despair or go into denial. The aim of this activity is to give students an opportunity to express how they feel about the news on climate change. There will obviously be no right or wrong way for students to communicate these feelings, but students should be encouraged to reflect on how TH

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: How can art help us to think about climate change?

Step 1. Begin this activity by thinking of one word that sums up climate change for them. The word could be a descriptive word such as ‘storm’ or ‘drought’ or could be an emotive word such as ‘unknown’ or ‘scary’. Use this word to create a mind-map of your understanding, impressions and responses to this word. Use the following questions to guide the creation of the mind map:

  • Why is this word important to you?
  • How does this word relate to how you think about climate change?
  • What do you think are the negative associations with this word?
  • What do you think are the positive associations with this word?
  • What solutions exist for the problems associated with this word?

Step 2. You will now create an artwork around your word and mind map. This artwork will describe how you feel about your climate change and the word you chose.

Conceptualising your artwork

If you already have an idea of how you can turn your

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