M 12

Students will explore the relationships between the arts and the environment. Students will look at the relationship some artists play in raising public awareness about sustainability and environmental issues. They will also create an artwork made from recyclable materials including old mobile phones.

Lesson Objective

Students will understand that art can portray an environmental message and apply the elements of design in order to communicate their environmental message on mobile phone recycling and persuading others to take action.

Australian Curriculum Content Description

  • Manipulate materials, techniques, technologies and processes to develop and represent their own artistic intentions (ACAVAM126)
  • Plan and design artworks that represent artistic intention (ACAVAM128)
  • Analyse a range of visual artworks from contemporary and past times to explore differing viewpoints and enrich their visual art-making, starting with Australian artworks, including those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and consider international artworks (ACAVAR131)


  • Analyse how the construction and interpretation of texts, including media texts, can be influenced by cultural perspectives and other texts (ACELY1739)                                                               
  • Analyse and evaluate how people, cultures, places, events, objects and concepts are represented in texts, including media texts, through language, structural and/or visual choices (ACELY1749)


Lesson Outline

  1. Introduce the concept of environmental art by reviewing the Factsheet: Environmental Art and looking at the artwork created by Chris Jordan for MobileMuster. As a class discuss the questions at the bottom of the Factsheet.
  2. Artist Case Study: Chris Jordan. View the artwork of environmental artist Chris Jordan. Students should begin by looking at his website and reviewing his collections Chris Jordan Photographic images. Students should read the captions under each of his artworks and click on the images to zoom in/out on the website.
  3. Complete Worksheet: The artwork of Chris Jordan and discuss how art can be a powerful tool for expressing ideas and how various forms of art can be used to spread environmental messages.
  4. Create an artwork. Explain to students that they are going to create an artwork to encourage the public to recycle old mobile phones. Students can work on their artwork independently, but may work in groups or as a class in order to share ideas and resources.
  5. Conceptualising the art work. Have a look at the MusterKids Zone and view the MobileMuster Promise video which details the importance of recycling old mobile phones and recovering materials. If students already have an idea for their artwork, go for it! If they need some help developing a concept undertake a brainstorming session.
  6. Prior to construction students will need to choose what medium they will use when creating their artwork and what materials that will need to collect for their artwork.
  7. During the construction stage the teacher will need to spend time observing and making suggestions about the student’s art.
  8. Create an artist’s statement. Students will need to need to prepare an artist’s statement in support of their work, explaining:
    • What inspired their artwork?
    • What elements of design are visible in their artwork?
    • How their choice of medium helped communicate their environmental message.

9.   Ask the students to review their experience. Consider the following questions to guide the review:

    • What do you like most about the artwork?
    • What did you like most about creating the artwork?
    • How many different messages or themes can you find in the artwork? What are they?
    • If you were to create the artwork again, what would you do differently?
    • Do you think that art is a good way to raise consciousness and empower communities to be more sustainable? Why or why not?

10.  Display the student artwork in the school or local community to share the environmental message. Suggestions include:

    • Presenting it to the school principal at assembly and discuss the formation of the artwork.
    • Displaying the artwork at a special school event; and entering the artwork in a competition.


1. Internet access

2. Factsheet: Environmental Art

3. Worksheet: The artwork of Chris Jordan

4. Images: Chris Jordan Photographic images

5. Materials for artworks (including old mobile phones)

Support Material

  • TED Talk given by Chris Jordan, Turning powerful stats into art

Extension Activities

Ask students to find examples of other environmental artists. Students should review the artists and identify how they communicate their ideas.

 Download and print the PDF document.