ARTSEDGE Lessons for Elementary School

Exploring Weather Conditions Through Painting

How can different weather conditions be depicted in painting?


Key Staff

Classroom teacher with opportunities for collaboration with science and visual arts teachers

Key Skills

Making Art: Composing and Planning, Producing, Executing and Performing
Creative Thinking: Creativity and Innovation


Students will learn about how weather influences culture, daily life, and mood by examining paintings depicting different types of weather. Students will demonstrate their understanding by painting a picture depicting a particular weather condition.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • identify and describe elements of art found in selected works of art (color, shape/form, line, texture, space, and value).
  • identify and analyze the depiction of weather and the seasons in works of art.
  • analyze, assess, and derive meaning from works of art, including their own, according to the elements of art, the principles of design, and aesthetic qualities.
  • create original artworks with paper, watercolors, and salt that depict type of weather or a season.
  • develop specific criteria to assess and critique works of art.

Teaching Approach

Arts Integration

Teaching Methods

  • Demonstration
  • Hands-On Learning
  • Reflection
  • Visual Instruction

Assessment Type

Performance Assessment


What You'll Need

Required Technology
  • 1 Computer per Classroom
  • Internet Access
  • Projector
Lesson Setup

Teacher Background

Teachers should be familiar with landscape painting and how to render the effects of weather in a painting.

Prior Student Knowledge

Students should be familiar with how to observe from nature. Students should also have experience with how to use watercolor paints.

Physical Space



Individualized Instruction


Test internet connection

Make necessary photocopies

Procure and set up art supplies

Accessibility Notes

Students with physical disabilities may need modified movements.



Gather the students around a window in the classroom and look outside to observe the weather.  Ask the students the following questions:

  • What is the weather like today?
  • What is the current season? How you describe the palette of colors associated with this season?
  • What objects or changes in the environment (the sky, trees, ground or sidewalks, clothing, etc.) provide clues about weather and/or the season?
  • What is your favorite kind of weather and why?

After students have responded to these questions, have them look at the paintings in the ENGAGE tab of the resource carousel. As students look at the paintings online, ask them:

  • How is light expressed in the painting?
  • What kind of feeling or mood does the painting generate?
  • How are the colors used to convey light or darkness?

Build Knowledge

Distribute Elements of Art handout. Discuss the elements of color, shape, and texture with students. Look again at the paintings in the resource carousel; review and analyze the pictures with students, while discussing the use of color, shape, and texture to portray a particular weather condition.

Have students select, analyze, and discuss their favorite paintings. Have each student choose a favorite painting, and break the students into groups according to their favorite paintings. Students can print out the paintings directly from the online interactive, or you may wish to bring into class prints of these paintings. Within the groups, students should share their thoughts and feelings about why they liked the pictures, discussing the elements of art such as color, shape, and texture. Students should use the Elements of Art handout as a reference point during their discussion. Have them present their responses as a group in front of the class.

Demonstrate the technique of drawing a weather/landscape scene using salt and watercolors. Paint the scene, then sprinkle salt over the wet painting to create texture. You may also wish to use rubber cement to create a stippled effect.

Have students complete their own paintings. After viewing all of the weather conditions depicted in the pictures, including the geographical component, distribute to the students watercolor paints, brushes, cups with water, salt, and white paper. Ask students to complete one of the following assignments:

  • Paint an image of your favorite day based on the weather conditions on the season.
  • Paint a weather/landscape scene of a particular day based on your personal experience.

Remind students that they should express their own unique style as they create their watercolor paintings. They should choose colors carefully to represent the scene associated with the particular day and weather condition they are painting. The objective is to represent the weather in the scene, as well as the way that the elements in the painting are being affected by the weather.

Tell students that the colors they choose may determine the mood of the painting. Give students ample time to complete their paintings.

If you do not have a drying rack for the paintings, be sure to have cleared off plenty of room for student work to dry.


While the paintings dry, perform one or more of the following activities with the students:

  • Look at a relief world globe or map and observe the different shades. Ask the students why there are changes in the colors. Point out a certain area that has a very different topography. Ask students the following: How might that affect how artists depict the landscape? Is there a difference between a storm in a coastal region, and a storm in the mountains? Discuss how some of those differences can be depicted in paintings.
  • On the overhead projector or using an LCD projector, present two pictures of different cultures that clearly show the impact of the weather on the culture. Compare two different pictures and discuss how the weather has an impact on the lives of the people in that culture. Discuss the similarities and differences among these cultures.
  • Create an area for exhibition of the students' paintings.
Have students write an artist’s statement to accompany their paintings explaining their techniques and observations. Their statement should include a description of the materials and process they used as well as the factors which influenced their work.


Break students into groups of three to four and have each group evaluate the artwork created by fellow class members. Since some of the paintings reflect personal experiences with the weather, ask students to describe that experience and its meaningfulness to them.

Lead the class in a closing discussion, asking questions such as:

  • Can you see now that weather or a season can be depicted in a variety of ways in painting?
  • What is your favorite type of weather or season? Describe the reasons why.


Throughout the nation, standards of learning are being revised, published and adopted. During this time of transition, ARTSEDGE will continually add connections to the Common Core, Next Generation Science standards and other standards to our existing lessons, in addition to the previous versions of the National Standards across the subject areas.

The Arts Standards used in ARTSEDGE Lessons are the 1994 voluntary national arts standards. The Arts learning standards were revised in 2014; please visit the National Core Arts Standards (http://nationalartsstandards.org) for more. The Kennedy Center is working on developing new lessons to connect to these standards, while maintaining the existing lesson library aligned to the Common Core, other state standards, and the 1994 National Standards for Arts Education.

ArtsEdge Lessons connect to the National Standards for Arts Education, the Common Core Standards, and a range of other subject area standards.

Common Core/State Standards

Select state and grade(s) below, then click "Find" to display Common Core and state standards.

National Standards For Arts Education
Visual Arts

Grade K-4 Visual Arts Standard 1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

Grade K-4 Visual Arts Standard 4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures

National Standards in Other Subjects

Geography Standard 4: Understands the physical and human characteristics of place

Geography Standard 6: Understands that culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places and regions


Science Standard 6: Understands relationships among organisms and their physical environment



Hagit Arieli-Chai
Original Writer

Daniella Garran
Original Writer

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Use this collection of resources and articles to devise an approach for supporting individual needs in the classroom: from English Language Learners or students with disabilities, to conflict resolution and giving feedback.



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