STEAM Lesson: Erosion Art

By |2018-08-03T08:50:28+00:00February 2nd, 2016|

Grade level: 3-5

Content areas: Science and Visual Art

In this lesson, students are using the work of artist Andrew Goldsworthy to explore the idea of erosion.  Weather, time and the elements all play a roll in this process and Goldsworthy is one of the best artists who showcase this process in their work.  What’s also interesting about his art is that it is “transient”, meaning that it changes over time as he places it outside.  This is part of the effect he’s after as an artist: observing, documenting, and responding to how the elements change an original idea.

Students use their knowledge of erosion to create their own Goldsworthy-inspired works outside in our lesson download today.  They use the items available to them outside wherever they are (that are also safe) to create their art and then view and document the changes over time for a real-life experiment with erosion.  This can take place over the course of a week, a month or even all semester.

We’re taking it one step further, though, with the actual topic of the work.  Each group’s transient piece must show the process of erosion itself.  This gives you the flexibility to bump this lesson up or down based on your grade level.  For instance, that might be a bit too advanced for third grade, but would offer a great layer for our 5th graders.

3-5 Erosion Art lesson

Have you used transient art as a STEAM lesson before?  What artist(s) did you use?

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Susan Riley is the founder and President of She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.

Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.

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