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Climate Change, Persuasive Writing, Visual Art Analysis


3rd, 4th, 5th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences, Visual and Performing Arts


60 minutes

Regional Focus



Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy (Art for the Earth #1)

Created By Teachers:
Last Updated:
Apr 13, 2024
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In this lesson, students discuss and evaluate artwork by Jill Pelto, investigate renewable and nonrenewable energy, and demonstrate their learning through writing or drawing. 

Step 1 - Inquire: Students discuss and evaluate artwork by Jill Pelto and learn more about her career.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students learn the definitions of renewable and nonrenewable energy, read Sven's Search for Clean Energy, and take notes on renewable and nonrenewable energy.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students write a paragraph or draw a comic to demonstrate their new knowledge.
Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson creates a collaborative atmosphere for the unit.
  • Students are able to identify how meaning can be created through art, especially when learning about fossil fuels and their damage to the environment.
  • Students can identify and share their own thoughts and feelings about Jill Pelto's artworks. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • This is lesson 1 of 6 in our 3rd-5th grade Art for the Earth unit.
  • iPads or computers with Internet connectivity are necessary.
  • Students will need basic research skills and computer skills.
  • Teachers will need to create a free Newsela account to access the readings on renewable and nonrenewable energy.


  • Teacher can create groups to include mixed ability levels, especially when students are taking notes on renewable and nonrenewable energy in the Investigate section.
  • Teacher can pause throughout the reading of Sven's Search for Clean Energy to encourage students to write in the "Learned" section of their KWL charts.
  • The two Newsela articles on renewable and nonrenewable energy are available in many reading levels. Teacher can select the appropriate reading level for each student.
Scientist Notes

This lesson demonstrates the impact of climate change in our ecosystem through Jill Pelto's arts. Arts appear to be an effective tool in climate science communication. The lesson has passed our scientist review and is recommended for classroom use.


Primary Standards

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 4-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and that their uses affect the environment.
      • 5-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Writing (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
  • National Core Arts Standards
    • Visual Arts: Standard 7 - Perceive and analyze artistic work.
      • VA:Re7.2.4a Analyze components in visual imagery that convey messages.
    • Visual Arts: Standard 11 - Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.
      • VA:Cn11.1.5a Identify how art is used to inform or change beliefs, values, or behaviors of an individual or society.
Art for the Earth Unit Lesson Plans


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