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Creative Writing


6th, 7th, 8th


English Language Arts, Visual and Performing Arts


180 minutes

Regional Focus



Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Hip-Hop and Climate Change

Last Updated:
Feb 28, 2024
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In this lesson, students explore the intersection of music and climate change and create their own original rap songs.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students share fun facts about hip-hop, learn about hip-hop as a cultural and social movement, and view examples of hip-hop intersecting with environmental concepts.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students research a climate change topic and create a class rubric for evaluating student-created raps.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students create and share an original rap about a climate change topic as a means to express their feelings and emotions through music.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson connects students to music and how it intersects with environmental concepts.

  • Students explore their feelings about climate change topics and solutions as they express themselves through the creation of an original rap song.

  • This lesson provides high-quality resources for student research on the topic of climate change.

  • Students facilitate their learning through independent research on a topic of interest and note-taking.

  • Students have the opportunity to share their creative works in the presentational mode of their choice.

  • Student groups learn how to develop a rubric for assessing musical works.

  • Completed Student Documents and Final drafts of the rap songs can serve as assessments.

  • This lesson could be taught in ELA, music, or social studies classes.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This lesson is intended to be a six-day lesson. You can spend one day on the Inquire section, two days on the Investigate section, and three days on the Inspire section.

  • You can learn to pronounce Xiuhtezcatl’s name correctly by watching this video.

  • Towards the end of the hip-hop forestry video, Dr. Thomas RaShad Easley mentions people who were lynched, which may be upsetting to students.

  • This lesson uses the term hip-hop to refer to the deeper cultural movement and the term rap to refer to the style of music that came out of hip-hop culture.

  • Using AI tools like ChatGPT to write the rap would be considered cheating for this lesson. However, students with experience in responsible AI use may be able to use AI tools to support them with certain elements of the writing process.

  • This resource provides further clarification on the distinction between a chorus and a hook.


  • The Student Document can be shared digitally or printed.

  • Examples of climate change topics can be shared during the brainstorming session to support students if needed. While some students may prefer to see a list of options to select from, others may welcome less structure and the freedom to research independently, thus creating a more personal rap song without topic limits during the Inspire section.

  • Teachers can preselect climate change topics to assign to groups for research.

  • Students can work independently, in pairs, or in groups to write their raps.

  • Students can use this resource for support with song structure.

  • This video is a spoken word poem from Prince Ea. The video features poetry over music and can be used to inspire students’ writing process and support students in making connections between hip-hop and poetry.

  • The following resources can provide additional support with rhyme schemes:

Scientist Notes

Music has impacted people's spirits and connected people for decades and counting. With this lesson, students can hone their creative talents by writing hip-hop songs with climate change content. Songs have the ability to connect with a wide range of people and cultural identities, which is crucial for pushing climate action. Even though there is limited science to back it up, the lesson is appropriate and interesting for pupils and has passed our science review.


Primary Standards

  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.5 Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.
    • Writing (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • National Core Arts Standards
    • Music: Standard 1 - Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work
      • MU:Cr1.1.6a Generate simple rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic phrases within AB and ABA forms that convey expressive intent.
    • Music: Standard 11 - Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.
      • MU:Cn11.0.6a Demonstrate understanding of relationships between music and the other arts, other disciplines, varied contexts, and daily life.
      • MU:Cn11.0.7a Demonstrate understanding of relationships between music and the other arts, other disciplines, varied contexts, and daily life.
      • MU:Cn11.0.8a Demonstrate understanding of relationships between music and the other arts, other disciplines, varied contexts, and daily life.

Supporting Standards

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.6.6-8 Draw on multiple disciplinary lenses to analyze how a specific problem can manifest itself at local, regional, and global levels over time, identifying its characteristics and causes, and the challenges and opportunities faced by those trying to address the problem.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Language (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
    • Writing (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
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