Noticing Encounters: Revisiting Nature Art Over Time

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Submitted by: Trisha Phillips
Grade level: ece,elementary
Core Competencies: creative-thinking,positive-personal-and-cultural-identity,critical-thinking
Subject Disciplines: fine-arts,indigenous-education

Location: any natural space (e.g. playground, forest, beach) with accessible, loose materials on the ground.

Connections to Art Curriculum

Kindergarten & Grade 1 – Big Ideas: 

  • People connect to others and share ideas through the arts.

  • Engagement in the arts creates opportunities for inquiry through purposeful play.


Grade 2 – Big Ideas: 

  • People connect to the hearts and minds of others in a variety of places and times through the arts.

  • Inquiry through the arts creates opportunities for risk taking.


Kindergarten to Grade 2 – Curricular Competencies:

  • Reflect on creative processes and make connections to other experiences

  • Explore elements, processes, materials, movements, technologies, tools, and techniques of the arts

  • Express feelings, ideas, stories, observations, and experiences through the arts


FNESC First Peoples Principles of Learning (FPPL):

  • Learning is holistic, reflexive, reflective, experiential and relational (focused on connectedness, on reciprocal relationships, and a sense of place).

  • Learning involves patience and time.  

  • Learning involves recognizing the consequences of one’s actions. 


Before Activity

Safety concerns: 

  • Check the outdoor space for hazards and discuss potential hazardous materials that should not be touched by students

  • Decide and set the boundaries as a class 

  • Decide a meeting spot for the class to return to for reflection


Respecting the Space: 

  • Discuss and decide as a class which materials are appropriate to use and how to respect the land

    • Have students consider the consequences of their actions if they were all to pick fresh flowers or leaves 





  1. Share this video about Andy Goldsworthy’s work with students to inspire their creations. Prompt discussion about what the students noticed and how they might create art with natural materials.

  2. Discuss safety concerns and ways to respect the space. 

  3. Time to create! Allow ample time for students to explore, collect materials and create art. 

  4. When students are finished have them take photographs of their work. 

  5. Have students take a gallery walk to view their peers’ art creations. 

  6. Conclude with a whole group reflection and discussion about their experience. Be sure to discuss how creating art in an open, natural environment likely means our work will not be permanent. Have students predict the potential encounters their art may have with other humans or more-than-human entities. 

Guiding Questions: 

  • Is it okay that other humans or more-than-humans may interact with our art?   

  • What animals are in the local area and how might they interact with our art? 

  • How might the weather interact with our art?

  • What do you think your art will look like next time we visit? 

  • Do you think other people add to our art?  


Additional Andy Goldsworthy resources:


Revisiting the Installations

Return to the same outdoor location multiple times to visit the students’ art. Have students take pictures and notice has changed each time. Students could also be invited to recreate or extend their work during each visit. 



  • Anecdotal notes as students create and reflect

    • How are students connecting to others and place?

    • Are students exploring art through purposeful play and risk taking? 

    • How are the students’ understandings of contentedness, reciprocal relationships, and a sense of place deepening through their experiences?  

  • Photographs of students’ art installations over time 



  • After the students notice how their art has changed since they last visited, students could write stories about the encounters their creations may have had with the more-than-human world. 

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