Image credit: Student info graphic (created by Asia Guerreschi)

Resource Type: Curriculum Materials Learning activity

Level: Intermediate

Student info graphic (created by Asia Guerreschi)

In this activity, students create a visual form of environmental communication using free online infographic tools. Infographics are increasingly used to quickly explain and map issues. They are used frequently in publications (journals, magazines, newspapers) and shared on social networks (Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Digg, Reddit, etc.). By creating an infographic, students conceptualize and make a claim about an environmental problem and develop a communication strategy. The activity combines visual and written techniques to communicate an issue based on research. Producing infographics helps develop a variety of literacy skills, such as information literacy (the ability to ascertain the validity of research and to seek out sources of information) and visual literacy (the ability to meaningfully connect imagery with the communication of ideas).

Learning outcomes

  • Environmental Literacy and Visual Communication: Students will design a visually engaging and informative infographic that effectively communicates an environmental problem, incorporating environmental literacy principles to convey scientific concepts and sustainability issues effectively.
  • Thesis Development and Critical Media Literacy: Students will formulate a clear and concise claim about the selected environmental problem, substantiated by relevant research, while applying critical media literacy skills to evaluate how media representations influence public perception of the issue.
  • Audience-Centered Communication Strategy: Students will develop a tailored communication strategy for their infographic, aligning it with the intended audience’s preferences and prior knowledge to ensure the message resonates effectively.
  • Information Literacy and Source Evaluation: Students will employ information literacy skills to assess the validity and reliability of research sources used in creating the infographic, promoting rigorous research practices and source credibility assessment.
  • Visual Literacy and Graphic Selection: Through the effective selection and incorporation of imagery, graphics, and icons, students will enhance their visual literacy skills, strategically using visual elements to reinforce and clarify complex environmental information.
  • Simplified Environmental Communication: Students will apply both visual and written techniques to simplify and convey intricate environmental information in an accessible manner, fostering greater public understanding and engagement with environmental issues.

Common Core standards

English Language Arts Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.1: Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.2: Determine a central idea of a text and analyze how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.7: Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.1: Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

Media Literacy Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.6: Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.7: Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.1: Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.5: Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

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