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Earth Science Art

Half the fun of Earth science is experiencing the aesthetic beauty of the natural world. Our appreciation of nature can be enhanced by understanding the geoscience that underpins natural systems and processes. In this activity, students are invited to integrate scientific understanding with artistic expression.

Grade Level: K-8

Keep art materials away from your eyes and mouth. Wear sunscreen if outside for an extended period. Wear sunglasses on a sunny day. Be aware of the weather, and check for ticks after returning to the classroom.


  • Selected art materials, such as sculpting clay, colored pencils or pens, paints and paintbrushes, paper, etc.


  1. Find a place outdoors to work. Collect your art materials, and pick a subject for your artwork. Which part of the scenery will you work on?

  2. Before beginning your picture or sculpture, talk about what you see and what you plan to create. Why did you pick that part of the outdoors? Does it look exciting or interesting?

  3. Talk about what you’ve learned in Earth science about what is around you outside. Why does the look like it does? Is it flat or hilly, bare or green with plants, worn away by water or ruffled by wind?

  4. Maybe you’ve chosen to focus on a rocky outcrop, a stand of trees, or an area with lots of birds. How does what you know about Earth science help you understand what you see? Do you see rock layers you might not have noticed before? What kinds of trees and birds do you see?

  5. Draw, paint, sculpt — create! Practice your observation skills by putting lots of details into your artwork so that another geoscientist who has never seen this area before would be able to find and recognize it using only your art as a guide. When you’re finished, hang your art in the school for others to see!

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