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Environmental and material culture: spatial creation and analysis, communal object design and construction for Grades 5-11, ages 11-17 years

Normally, crafts and design are neglected areas of the Visual Culture curriculum, overshadowed by the traditional fine arts focus. We believe that environmental education is an equally important area, the benefits of which we outline in the consecutive parts on developmental objectives of this brief description.

This module, also intended to be part of the curriculum for the discipline called Visual Culture, as the other modules, has chosen a different form of curriculum planning. While previous modules could be divided into learning units and mixed with traditional curriculum content, this module should be taught as a continuous sequence of projects. The module should be realised in 2, consecutive) lesson hours (90 minutes) weekly, in the second semester of the school year. (The first semester should be dedicated to other topics of the Hungarian Core Curriculum). This intensive immersion in environmental culture, crafts and design ensures that adequate time is allocated for students to develop complex projects from the ideation phase through research, planning and prototyping.

Peer and whole class evaluation of products also contributes to the learning experience, closely modelling the execution of workplace design projects. In the followings, we briefly describe the aims and methods of our module, the details of which detailed in its Teachers’ Manual available in Hungarian on this website, along with a rich collection of tried and tested learning programs.


Competence development 

  • Feeling at home in the material world, understanding the technical environment

  • Experiencing the culture of makerspaces: experimenting with creative work with materials

  • Interest in, empathizing with and assuming a critical attitude towards individual, social and environmental issues concerning the man-made environment;

  • Understanding the importance of taking initiative in solving environmental problems

  • Development of collaborative skills

  • Using debating skills to establish mutually satisfactory solutions

  • Knowledge about materials, technologies and structures of the man-made environment

  • Acquisition of basic presentation techniques for design and construction problems and solutions: sketch mock-up, drafting (plotting), building spatial models

  • Assuming the role of the designer: responsibilities, viewpoints, ways of work, in order to understand their working processes

Skills involved:

Creation: sensitivity to problems, phantasy, creativity; construction and technology skills, spatial skills, experience in appropriate form giving

Perception:  judgment based on experiences and knowledge, reading images, text comprehension in relation to messages about the man-made environment

Communication: visual expression (drawing skills); verbal expression (technical words and phrases of environmental culture, basic terminology of crafts and design)

Knowledge involved:

Characteristics of materials

Characteristics of structures

Basic functions of elements of the man-made environment


Educational content


Objects: cultic and utilitarian objects, souvenirs / presents

Buildings: human dwellings, communal, commercial and industrial buildings


Working form: in contrast to individual instruction, this module is built on pair and group work (collaboration in 2-4-member, learning communities. Peer support, solidarity, sharing of ideas and tasks develop team spirit and other important workplace skills.

Activities: creative work based on lifelike, authentic problem situations including short tasks and complex projects. Examples: redecoration of own living spaces, planning of future dwellings, creation of scenery, costumes and props for a school performance, designing the visual identity of a well-known community (school, class or sport club). Analysis spans from the observation and assessment of individual objects to the collection of objects and spaces (examples: corporate identity, advertising campaign, object design and marketing).