With sunrise came a thick white fog, as on many autumn mornings in the heigts of the island. Among their huts and houses down the staggling street of ten Alders the villagers stood waiting with their hunting bows and new-forged spears, not knowing whether the Kargs might be far off or very near, all silent, all peering into the fog that hid shapes and distances and dangers from their eyes.

A Wizard of Earthsea
by Ursula Le Guin

Oklahoma Priority Academic Student Skills (Grades 8 and 9)

Visual Literacy: The student will interpret, evaluate, and compose visual messages.

Standard 1: Interpret Meaning - The student will interpret and evaluate the various ways visual image-makers including graphic artists, illustrators, and news photographers represent meaning.

Standard 3: Compose Visual Messages - The student will create a visual message that effectively communicates an idea.

Reading/Literature: The student will apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, appreciate, and respond to a wide variety of texts. Participate productively in self-directed work teams to create observable products.

Standard 4: Literature: The student will read, construct meaning, and respond to a wide variety of literary forms. Read and respond to grade-level-appropriate historically or culturally significant works of literature that reflect and enhance a study of history and social science. Clarify the ideas and connect them to other literary works. Participate in self-directed work teams to create observable products.

Visual Arts

Standard 2: Visual Art History and Culture - The student will recognize the development of visual art from an historical and cultural perspective.

Standard 3: Visual Art Expression - The student will observe, select, and utilize a variety of ideas and subject matter in creating original works of art.


  • Meteorology – Meteorology is the interdisciplinary study of the atmosphere
  • Visibility – Visibility is the measure of distance at which an object can be clearly seen.
  • Meteorological visibility - Meteorological visibility refers to transparency of air: in dark, meteorological visibility is still the same as in daylight for the same air.
  • Air pollution – Air pollution is the introduction of harmful particles into the atmosphere.
  • Haze – Haze results from dry particles in the atmosphere.
  • Mist – Mist results from wet particles in the atmosphere.
  • Fog – Fog is a mist that lowers visibility to a greater degree (less than 5/8 mile).


List some things that can change the transparency of the air.

Name some jobs that are affected by meteorological visibility.

Name some situations in which you have been affected by meteorological visibility.


What you will need:

  • A sheet of colored tissue paper
  • A small piece of poster board
  • A black permanent marker
  • Water
  • Brush

What you will do:

  1. Use the marker to write your name on the poster board.
  2. Cut the tissue paper into at least 10 pieces, each large enough to cover your name.
  3. Use the brush and the water to gently place a piece of tissue paper over your name.
  4. Counting the layers as you go, continue to add layers of wet tissue until your name is no longer visible (cut more pieces of tissue if needed).
  5. The number of tissues used = X. Remember this.
  6. Compute the percent of visibility lost with each layer of tissue.


What you will need:

  • Color copies of an image of your choice: X=number of copies you need.
  • X-1= pieces of tissue paper the same color as you used in your experiment, each the size of your image.
  • A piece of poster board the size of your image to use as a backing.
  • Scissors
  • Clear acrylic polymer
  • Water
  • Brush

What you will do:

  1. Determine for yourself the part of your image that you think is most important or the part that you want to be the most visible. This could also be the part of the image that appears to be the closest to you, such as the nose in a full-face portrait of a person.
  2. Set one copy of your image aside. Cut away parts of each of the remaining images, making them gradually smaller until you are left with the smallest piece being the part you determined to be the most important.
  3. Use the brush and the polymer to affix the uncut copy of the image to the poster board.
  4. Use the brush and the polymer to cover the entire image with a full piece of tissue.
  5. Position the next-largest copy over the first, aligning it exactly so the images match. Glue it in place with the polymer.
  6. Cover the entire piece with a second full piece of tissue.
  7. Continue positioning the copies of your image in decreasing sizes, adding a full piece of tissue between each layer of image. End with the smallest piece of your image on top.
  8. Let dry.

Student Variations

  • Take a digital photo of a person, place, or thing that you enjoy.  Print it out, make copies, and use it as the image for this project.
  • Make a drawing or illustration based upon the novel A Wizard of Earthsea. Make copies of your artwork and use it as the image for this project.
  • Use different images for each layer instead of making copies of a single image. Be sure that some of each layer shows beneath the others.

Teacher Variations

  • Teach the same lesson digitally on a computer equipped with layering image software such as Adobe Photoshop. Layer several copies of the same image. Using soft edges or feathering, cut away sections of each layer and gradually change the level of transparency of each layer— greatest at the bottom, least at the top.
  • Use this project to introduce the art concept of “atmospheric perspective,” a technique used by artists to indicate depth by making far-away objects less distinct with less contrast; foreground objects with more detail and contrast. Have students use this technique in a drawing or painting of their own.
  • Have students research and report on historical battles or conflicts that have been impacted by weather or fog.