Lesson Plan: Trash Scapes
Student Learning Objectives
  • Learn about and engage in a critical discussion of the photography of Chris Jordan and Sze Tsung Leong especially as related to issues of the environment, consumerism and the power of visual images.
  • Think deeply about how habits related to human consumption and disposal of trash are affecting the natural landscape.
  • Create a mixed-media, found-object, landscape using products of consumer waste.
Visual Arts

7.V.1 Use the language of visual arts to communicate effectively.

7.V.2 Apply creative and critical thinking skills to artistic expression.                                

7.V.3 Create art using a variety of tools, media, and processes, safely and appropriately.                                   

7.C.X.1 Understand the global, historical, societal and cultural contexts of the visual arts.

7.C.X.2 Understand the interdisciplinary connections and life applications of the visual arts.                                                                                                                         

7.CX.2.1 Select skills and information from other disciplines to solve artistic problems.                                                                                                                            

7.CR.1 Use critical analysis to generate responses to a variety of prompts.                 

7.CR.1.1 Generate responses to art using both personal and formal criteria.

Social Studies

7.G.1.3 Explain how natural disasters (e.g. flooding, earthquakes, monsoons and tsunamis), preservation efforts and human modification of the environment (e.g. recycling, planting trees, deforestation, pollution, irrigation systems and climate change) affect modern societies and regions.                                                                                        

7.G.2.2  Use maps, charts, graphs, geographic data and available technology tools to interpret and draw conclusions about social, economic, and environmental issues in modern societies and regions.                                                                         

7.C.1.2 Explain how cultural expressions (e.g. art, literature, architecture and music) influence modern society.

Written by Amy Keenan Amago
Essential Question: What impact does our garbage have on the natural environment?
Abstract: Students will consider the impact that human/consumer garbage is having on the natural world. Students will create a classic yet ironic landscape using consumer waste (catalogs, packaging, plastics,) in order to underscore the deleterious effects of garbage on the land as well as to highlight the impact the visual arts can have on bringing attention and new perspectives to important environmental/social issues.
  • Engage in VTS of photography by artists Chris Jordan and Sze Tsung Leong
  • Participate in a class discussion of the essential question as well as the following relevant guiding questions:
    • How are human habits of consumption reflected in the photography of Jordan and Leong?
    • How do the visual arts help to bring attention to important social issues?
  • Flesh out ideas and plan the production of their landscape (e.g. materials use, composition, formal elements) both in drawing and writing exercises
  • Create a landscape collage/assemblage using found objects that reflects the effects of consumption and garbage on our natural world.
  • Offer and accept respectful, specific, feedback to and from fellow artists
  • Title their artwork 
  • Observation of student dialogue during class discussion of focus art works
  • Evaluation of Concept Building Worksheet/Sketchbook Activity wherein students reflect (through written form) on the impact of garbage on the environment as well as flesh out ideas (through writing and drawing) for their “Trash Scape”
  • Observe student engagement during art production stage (included in rubric)
  • Mid-project peer feedback session
  • Student self-assessment (using rubric given to student at beginning of lesson)
  • Teacher assessment (using rubric given to students at beginning of lesson)

impact, consumer, landfill, found objects, recycled, up-cycled, repurposed, landscape, horizon line, foreground, middle ground, background, collage, assemblage, overlap


Found objects, glue sticks, staplers, needle and thread, hole punches, paper fasteners, cardboard

Welcome! Log in to access your portfolio, create a concept map or leave a comment.