This is the first year I have been organised enough to put together a lesson to celebrate Earth Day on 22nd April. So I’m feeling a tiny bit pleased with myself. I also love the outcome from the lesson – beautiful, bright ‘bottle blooms’ (or colourful flowers made from waste plastic bottles).
What is Earth Day?
Earth Day has been around since the 70s, and it has grown in impact, with over 190 countries celebrating it in some way this year. The lesson I have designed focuses on the environmental impact of waste plastic, particularly from disposable bottles, on the earth and ocean -there is a trailer for the film A Plastic Ocean which highlights the problem very clearly here and a Greenpeace petition here.
My aim was to make the lesson as straight forward and accessible as possible, so the resources required are simple: waste plastic bottles, scissors and POSCA marker pens. This means you can do this lesson in a non-specialist classroom if necessary. Of course if you are in an art classroom, you can use acrylic paint instead of marker pens – and this would be a cheaper option if you have these already – but there would be more time needed for the clean-up.
I have only recently started using POSCA water-based marker pens, and though they are not cheap (from about £2.10 each) , I’ve found that they are hugely versatile and very handy in the art room. They are non-toxic, can be used on a wide variety of surfaces and come in many different colours. If you want to know more about using these pens, here is blog with an extensive guide.
Spinning bottle flowers
Back to the lesson… everything you need is included and ready to go… a quick quiz starter, a template for designing, source images for inspiration, extension task for early finishers, artist links, a differentiated version of the written plenary and a printable sheet to hand out reminding students to bring their bottles in for the lesson…
PS. If you are buying materials, I have just found that Cass Art offer 10% off orders for artist educators – you can apply for the discount here.
And here’s an idea to develop your bottle flowers further – make a kinetic artwork!