Happy Earth Day! Today is a day when many science and environmental teachers plan creative activities for their students that often extend beyond the classroom. But did you know that art teachers are getting involved as well? Here are a few of the ways that schools used art classes today to increase awareness of the environment:
• In Tecumseh, Kan., the 7th and 8th graders at Shawnee Heights Middle School recycled the school's copies of the local newspaper over the last several months to create a mural of thousands of brightly colored spirals. The piece was unveiled today and stands nearly 15 feet long and 4 feet tall, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal. Art teachers Barbara Cole and Heather Unrein told the paper that the mural conveys a message not just about recycling, but about color theory and teamwork.
• At Edison Elementary School in West Highland, Colo., the focus of Earth Day this year has been on promoting water conservation. According to The North Denver Tribune, 1st grade students used water color palettes to create works of art, from "boats and sea life to wasted drops of water slipping through our hands," to sell at an "eco art show" later this week. The proceeds will go to a local landscape committee which aims to conserve water, a nonprofit that protects the Colorado River, and a fund to help the school purchase student garden tools and plants.
• Students at the St. Francis School in St. Joseph, Mo., decorated grocery bags to give to local grocery stores in hopes that customers will see the artwork and think twice before throwing the bags in the trash after first use. "The idea is that we can do things everyday to help our environment," said St. Francis teacher Julia Machado.
• Orland Park's Century Junior High School in Orlando Park, Ill., held an art project contest. All artwork had to be made from recyclable materials. Projects included a replica of the Willis Tower in Chicago made of black computer floppy discs and the Ying-Yang symbol of Eastern philosophy made of colored tissue paper and black and white buttons. "I said anything goes, anything that could be recycled," said art teacher Sue Berry.
Did you celebrate Earth Day with your students? Share your lessons and activities.