THEME: Art reflects the values of society.

GOAL: Students will appreciate the ability to influence society through artistic media.

METHOD: Creating artistic works (pictures, poems or short stories, photographs, songs, paintings, etc.)

SUBJECTS: English, art, social studies

SKILLS: Analyzing, creating, value judgment

MATERIALS: Examples of artwork; craft supplies (paint, markers, glue, etc.)

TIME: 1 to 2 hours


Art often reflects what society values. Sometimes artistic expression can affect society by making it see its own flaws, including wasteful habits that are practiced at the cost of the environment.

Getting Started

Ask the students to name their favorite form of art-music? Painting? Dance? Poetry? Photography? Have them consider: In what ways does art affect you? Reflect you?


  1. Provide or have students bring in samples of art that reflect an appreciation of the natural environment (e.g., the paintings of Thomas Cole), portray American values (e.g., selections from the essays of H.D. Thoreau), or illustrate our wasteful habits.
  2. Have the class discuss the various examples, addressing questions such as: What message was the artist trying to get across? How did he or she achieve this? How does his or her art affect you?
  3. Ask each student to create a piece of artwork that reflects how they personally would like to change our throw-away society.
  4. Organize an informal show for the students to present their projects to the rest of the class. Have each explain why they chose the artistic medium they did. Let other students guess and then discuss the message behind each piece.


Hold an exhibit of all art projects, either at the school or in a local building such as the town hall or library. Have students write a brief paragraph to accompany their work.