Ecosystem Collages

Allisun Moore
Coyote Valley Elementary School

seashore collage
forest collage

Subject: Science, Art

Description: In small groups students will create a collage showing a particular ecosystem's environment, members of the community, and a food chain in that ecosystem.

Objectives: Students will demonstrate their knowledge of ecosystems and food chains. Students will explore various methods for creating textures with paint. Students will use painted paper to create a collage.

Supplies: colored paper (construction or poster paper), large piece of paper to create collage on (approximately 2'x3'), acrylic or tempera paint, brushes, various tools for creating designs and textures in paint, scissors, glue, pencils.

Prior to lesson:
Students have been learning about ecosystems. In small groups of 3 to 4 students have researched an ecosystem, such as rain forest, desert, or savanna. Each group has identified features that make up the physical environment as well as the living things in the ecosystem.
Each group has created a sketch depicting their ecosystem and identified a food chain.

Day 1
  1. Students will look at examples of textures created in tempera paint.
  2. Students will investigate various tools to create textured surface with paint on paper.
  3. Students will then be given large pieces of colored paper to paint and encouraged to try to create various textures with a variety of tools.
Day 2
  1. Students meet in large group to discuss various paint textures and share how they were created.
  2. Small ecosystem groups meet to create large textured pieces of paper to use for their particular ecosystem collage. For example, the rain forest group creates textures in greens, blues, and browns.
Day 3 - 5
  1. Student groups meet and begin to create background for their ecosystem. Students cut or tear objects from painted paper (created on days 1 and 2) and glue to large piece of paper.
  2. Students will then create plants and animals in their ecosystem and add them to the collage.

Students will present finished collages to the class. Students may also create a written description of their ecosystem and food chain shown in their collage. Collages will be displayed in the room for the remainder of the science unit.

tundra collage

State Standard for Visual Arts used in this science/art project:


©   Deborah Padrick   2001