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Earth Artistically Balanced

Lunar and Planetary Institute, Universities Space Research Association

Students first learn about the complexities of Earth's climate system and the different factors contributing to Earth's energy balance. Then, students categorize the factors that influence climate as warming or cooling factors. Finally, students design art pieces to depict the science behind Earth's climate system and share these artistic creations with families and communities.

This activity takes one 90-minute period. May require additional materials.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • It is suggested to have a climate scientist involved in the activity.
  • Given the complexity of the concepts involved (eg. climate systems, energy balance), it would be important to attend to students' misunderstandings and misrepresentations throughout the design process.
  • The resources linked at the beginning of the activity are helpful for providing foundational understandings.
  • Time is needed before the activity to gather art supplies and other materials.
  • Teachers might want to consider referencing the CLEAN elementary support guides.

About the Science

  • Students create an artistic representation of how Earth's systems are balanced.
  • This requires students to learn background information on the complex climate system before embarking on the artistic endeavor of creating a piece. For example, students learn about warming factors, such as darker surfaces that absorb light energy and power plants burning fossil fuels. They explore cooling factors, such as reflective clouds.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • Engaging, hands-on, arts-integrated activity.
  • This activity has students learn about the complex climate system of Earth through a series of discussion questions and a short activity.
  • The students unite the science with art by making a balancing mobile using materials that represent the different factors contributing to the system.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The lesson highly recommends making a connection with a climate scientist who is willing to serve as an adviser, and a high school environmental science teacher to co-facilitate the activity and assist in mentoring the students as they design and build their artwork.

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