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Photo by Jill Pelto

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Jill Pelto Gallery


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology, Visual and Performing Arts

Resource Type

  • Artwork

Regional Focus

Global, Polar Regions

"Habitat Degradation: Arctic Melt"

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  • This watercolor painting by scientist and artist Jill Pelto uses Arctic sea ice data to illustrate the effects of its critical decline. 
  • This painting helps students understand how arctic foxes are struggling to cope with habitat degradation due to the rapid warming in the Arctic. 
Teaching Tips


  • The resource transforms scientific data into meaningful artwork that students can explore.
  • This painting connects to various important concepts: animal migration, extinction, animal adaptation, group behavior, biodiversity loss, and Arctic ecosystem decline.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with line graphs.


  • In science and math classes, students could analyze and interpret the scientific data shown in this picture.
  • This image could be used as an exit ticket. The teacher could show it on the screen and ask students what emotions the watercolor evokes in them after learning about a relevant topic.
  • Art classes could use this as an example of line art or graphic symbolism.
  • Students can learn more about the challenges that wild animals face by exploring this TEDx video, this online art exhibition, and this article
Scientist Notes
This resource displays the influence of extreme temperatures on the Arctic Sea, creating changes in the species' habitat and making response difficult. Although data needs to be updated, this resource is recommended for teaching.
  • 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.
  • National Core Arts Standards
    • Visual Arts: Standard 7 - Perceive and analyze artistic work.
      • VA:Re7.2.8a Compare and contrast contexts and media in which viewers encounter images that influence ideas, emotions, and actions.
      • VA:Re7.2.IIa Evaluate the effectiveness of an image or images to influence ideas, feelings, and behaviors of specific audiences.
    • Visual Arts: Standard 8 - Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
      • VA:Re8.1.Ia Interpret an artwork or collection of works, supported by relevant and sufficient evidence found in the work and its various contexts.
    • Visual Arts: Standard 11 - Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.
      • VA:Cn11.1.6a Analyze how art reflects changing times, traditions, resources, and cultural uses.
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    • This watercolor is achingly beautiful. The crouching fox just pleads with the viewer to save its diminishing habitat. Really tugs at the heartstrings.
      2 years ago