Why weather? Is it art?

PYP Unit 3: How the world works (Weather)


Grade level: 2 (7-8 year olds)

Central Idea: Changing weather affects the world around us and our daily lives.

Media: painting, drawing, printmaking

Elements of Art: line, shape, colour, texture,space

So you might be reading this and wondering how on earth an art teacher would link in significant learning about the concepts with weather.

*Function: (how does it work)

*Causation: (why is it like it is?)

*Change:(How is it changing?)

After listening to the student’s feedback from our first two units I decided that I needed a better blend of guided lessons with open ended investigations. I needed to ensure that children were progressing in their ability to understand the elements of art and improve their fine motor control as well as use their own creative minds to find solutions to real life problems relating to the weather.

For this unit I also wanted to focus their learning around Kath Murdoch’s cycle of inquiry. Here is how we started!


TUNING IN-with Visual Thinking Strategies (thanks Harvard Project Zero)

  1. TUNING IN: To get our students excited about this unit I decided to start off with 3 exciting activities.

Graffiti Carousel: This is a wonderful activity where students or the teacher writes an interesting open ended question and students are asked to write/ draw their ideas on a large sheet of paper ( I often put these up in different places in the classroom or outside).To extend this activity students can be asked to read all their classmates responses and to come up with some conclusion (similarities) between all the answers.

Now given we are dealing with grade 2 where many of the children are only beginning to write it was important to encourage quick drawings and use of simple symbols they knew to share their ideas.

Gallery Walk:

Place a range of artworks (photos, paintings, prints etc) up around the school or in a room.Obviously real pictures would be ideal, however printing images also works just as well and allows you to show students a much wider range to include things like installation and sculpture pieces. Students walk around the gallery and fill in a ‘I see, I think, I wonder‘ sheet to help them delve deeper into artwork.

With grade 2 I decided to do the ‘I see, I think, I wonder’ part verbally as I knew it would be quite challenging for them to express themselves quickly in written form.

Colour/ Symbol/ Image: Another strategy by our friends at Project Zero-Harvard University, Colour, symbol, image.


I asked students to watch a short clip called MOVE  (STA Travel) and to notice the weather in the film. The film is very fast paced and shows a man traveling around the world 1 second at a time.

Colour-Students were then asked to colour in a small square of paper which they felt best represented the film.

Symbol-Next they had to draw a symbol/ simple icon that described the film.

Image-Lastly create an image.It really got them thinking deeply and may seem easier than it really is!

See their results below


Another super unusual and fascinating film from Great Big Story is all about Sculptor Nathalie Miebach. Student watched this film to learn more about ways in which weather inspired artists.




About Miss Frolchenko

Originally from Australia I am currently living and teaching at an international school in Rome, Italy.
This entry was posted in Art, Art-Grade 2 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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