We speak for the trees…

We speak for the trees….pdf

Dublin Core


We speak for the trees…




During the 1500’s, one of the earliest industries began in North America. The fur trade between the French and Americans provided both parties with the goods they needed, such as warmth from the pelts and a variety of goods given in exchange for the pelts. However, it also gave these individuals and others throughout the world, such as Europe, a new object to desire and want. By the 1800’s fur, especially those used for creating hats, were more scare and desirable than silk. Yet, by the 1900’s the trade had declined sharply due to factors such as mass land clearing for creating new settlements and the over-trapping of animals highly decreasing their populations. This story is not a new one. Similar accounts are known about the ivory trade, as well as with the diamond industry. Natural objects do and have served many purposes, both ornamental and practical. These items have been used as currency, personal adornments, a source of warmth and clothing, and as handles for tools. In spite of the many good intentions of using these objects for human needs, it often carries extreme consequences for the environment. Habitats have been wiped out completely and some species of animals have often been driven close to extinction. In this unit, learners will study the affects of using natural materials, in particular our use of products created from trees, such as paper and building materials. Learners will examine the effects of deforestation and how it affects communities, states, and countries. Finally, learners will create handmade paper, which they will use to create a collage symbolizing how materialism and consumerism impact our world.


Molly D. Chance


CMA 1983.4
CMA 1960.10
CMA 2011.2


Handheld Art


Columbia Museum of Art

Unit Plan Item Type Metadata


7 classes


Visual Arts Standards:
1. VA3-1.5 Use all art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner.
2. VA3-3.2 Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning through his or her artworks.
3. VA3-3.3 Discuss the ways that choices of subject matter, symbols, and ideas combine to communicate meaning in his or her works of visual art.

Integrated CCSS:
1. 3-2.2 Explain how physical and behavioral adaptations allow organisms to survive (including hibernation, defense, locomotion, movement, food obtainment, and camouflage for animals and seed dispersal, color, and response to lights for plants).
2. 3-2.3 Recall the characteristics of an organism’s habitat that allow the organism to survive there.
3. 3-2.4 Explain how changes in the habitats of plants and animals affect their survival.
4. 3-3.7 Exemplify Earth materials that are used as fuel, as a resource for building materials and as a medium for growing plants.


1. The learner will examine the affects of deforestation and other natural material imbalances.
2. The learner will create handmade paper from paper gathered around the school/community.
3. The learner will create a collage displaying a variety of symbols for conservation. (Learners may also create their own symbol.)
4. The learner will participate in both a self and group critique reflecting on how their image visually represents materialism.


- Variety of papers
- Water
- 2-3 blenders
- 5-10 screens
- Pencils and erasers
- Scissors
- Glue

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