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Metal Picture Mural

“How do we protect our planet?” When asked, these 4th-graders had useful, pragmatic ideas. They also said they feel “outnumbered.” “There are more people than us who don’t care about throwing plastic in the river.”

Mrs. Welch’s 4th-grade class of 2017-2018 studied the impact of human activities on planet Earth using "Hexagonal Thinking." Students investigated habitat loss, plastics in the oceans, ecosystems, and our interdependent relationships to all plants and animals. 

Curriculum Designer Betsy Potash describes Hexagonal Thinking as “a method for considering the connections between ideas and finding the nuances in those connections.”

“When you place an idea on a hexagon, it has six sides where connections could be made to other ideas. When you place many ideas on many hexagons, the discussion about where to connect what will be different every time.”

Their explorations culminated in a poem, contracts between themselves and their parents, and drawings. The drawings were then fabricated into metal by industrial artist, Ries Niemi. The students’ ideas represent encouraging reflections by informed citizens who choose to make the impossible possible.


Students drew pictures of their time in Drama World.

The drawings were enlarged to 3’ x 3’ and then traced in metal. Twenty-five pictures formed this mural.

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