Environmental Art Lesson in Action!

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to teach a group of second graders about environmental artist, Andy Goldsworthy, and the process of creating environmental art! The lesson was absolutely fantastic. The students really enjoyed getting to explore their school grounds in search of their “art supplies” and remained engaged throughout the lesson. At the end of the lesson, we took a tour of the student works–each student taking a moment to tell the rest of the class about the materials they chose and the significance of their work. 

Given more time, this lesson has the potential to rock EVEN FURTHER, as students could explore the concept of time and decay, as well as the important role that photography plays in environmental art installations.

But, for being a guest teacher for a 40 minute class period, I’d say the lesson turned out nicely! Here are a few of the students’ works that were created in a span of about 15 minutes: 

ImageMany students liked Andy Goldsworthy’s explorations of circles, holes, and spirals, as was evident in their finished works.



Goldsworthy also explores lines and use of color. One of his processes that we discussed in class was his long leaf lines and “tapestries” that he creates by threading the stems of leaves together. Several students experimented with this process in their works.

ImageImageA few recommendations that I would make regarding outdoor environmental art making with students (particularly those of younger ages):

-Assign each student a specific area to be their art making zone. They can leave this area to gather supplies, but should spend most of their time working on their installations in their area.

-Discuss boundaries for gathering supplies (How far can they go to find supplies? Should they only use things that they find on the ground, or can they pick leaves/flowers?)

-Toss out ideas for different uses of materials while they are working, such as weaving leaves together, ripping leaves into pieces, focusing on certain colors or shapes, or outlining things with colors or lines to make them stand out.

If given another day with this class, I would have loved to take them back outside to observe the changes in their works! 

Overall a great project, brimming with possibilities!

Happy Friday 🙂



4 thoughts on “Environmental Art Lesson in Action!

    • Thank you for your kind words! Your own work as an artist is absolutely beautiful and provides a wonderful example of the artful explorations in nature encouraged and discussed in this blog. I would love to have the opportunity to speak with you about your experiences and insights as an ecological artist, if you ever have a free moment to do so! I’m sure I could learn a great deal from you. 🙂

  1. I’m a fan of AG and have often wanted to “play” with natural materials like this with the kids at the Nature Center where I volunteer. I’m glad to see someone is doing it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s