• Views 277
  • Favorites


Jan 20, 2022


60 minutes


3rd, 4th, 5th


Science, English Language Arts, Art, Social-Emotional Learning

Resource Language:


Regional Focus



Google Docs, Google Slides

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


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
15 minutes
  • Teacher displays Jill Pelto's artworks and asks students to think about the accompanying questions.
  • Students think-pair-share for each artwork.
  • Teacher shares the Artist Spotlight about Jill Pelto and her work.
30 minutes
  • Teacher leads a discussion using guiding questions while students complete the "Know" and "Want to Know" portions of their own KWL charts.
  • Teacher introduces the words renewable and nonrenewable. The words are chunked into roots and affixes for students to understand the different parts of the words.
  • Students read Sven's Search for Clean Energy. Students can read the book individually or in groups. Another option is for the teacher to read the book out loud to the entire class.
  • Students add to the "Learned" part of their KWL charts during and after reading.
  • In groups, students read the two Newsela articles on renewable and nonrenewable energy.
  • Students take notes in the accompanying document called Energy Notes Student Document.
15 minutes
  • Students think-pair-share for the two pieces of artwork, using their new knowledge to inform their analysis of the artwork.
  • Students complete one of two options to demonstrate their knowledge:
    • Option 1: Students write a paragraph explaining how they feel about moving towards renewable energy.
    • Option 2: Students draw a comic showing their knowledge, thoughts, and opinions about renewable and nonrenewable energy.
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.


  • 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.
  • 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


Login to leave a review