Portraits & Environment

Course Access: Lifetime
Course Overview

STEMLinc Video Conferencing: Ecolinc is proud to work with the National Portrait Gallery to put the ‘A’ into STEM for this program!  Your students will explore how environmental messaging can be achieved through portraiture.   Students take a deep dive into selected samples from the National Gallery to inspire their own creations during this engaging lesson. (Portrait: STEMLinc presenter: Professor John Long – fossil hunter)

Year Level: 5 – 6

Duration: 1 hour

STEM in a box: Yes

Background Information:

Great portraits capture people’s interaction with their natural surroundings to tell strong stories that generate an emotion in the viewer, giving insight into where these people are, what they do and who they are.

Prior Knowledge:

No prior knowledge necessary.

Learning Intentions: 

In this program students will:

  • compare various environmental messages conveyed through Portraiture
  • consider and portray the adaptations of Australian animals whose habitats are considered to be extreme
  • explore the power of portraiture to effectively convey specific environmental messages


In this video conference students will:

  • Participate in a Q&A session with an expert from the National Portrait Gallery
  • Explore at the structure and composition of portraiture art
  • Express a personal environmental idea through the creation of hands-on portraiture


Earth and space sciences

  • Sudden geological changes or extreme weather conditions can affect Earth’s surface (VCSSU079)
    • considering the effect of drought on living and non-living aspects of the environment

Biological sciences

  • The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment (VCSSU075)
    • researching organisms that live in extreme environments,
  • Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (VCSSU074)
    • describing and listing(depicting?) adaptations of living things suited for particular Australian environments

Visual Arts 

Explore and Express Ideas

  • Explore visual arts practices as inspiration to create artworks that express different ideas and beliefs (VCAVAE029)

Present and Perform

  • Create and display artwork considering how ideas can be expressed to an audience (VCAVAP031)
    • analysing and interpreting an exhibition of artworks, investigating the intentions of the artist, for example, what did the artist want the audience to see and understand?
    • recognising and evaluating how culture, gender, age, time and place impact on how an audience reads an artwork.

Respond and interpret

  • Identify and describe how ideas are expressed in artworks by comparing artworks from different contemporary, historical and cultural contexts, including artworks by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (VCAVAR032)
    • making judgments about the practices of artists,


Date & Time

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August 2nd 10 am Book here

August 9th 2 pm

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