By Kimberly Olson
Looking to See is a Donors Choose project based on the integration of Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards into my PK-grade 2 Art and Art History curriculum. Specifically, my goal for this project was to move toward the application of specific grade-level science standards in the areas of biomimicry, light & sound, motion and stability, and Earth's systems. In the project, students recognized the similarities between the design process and the science inquiry process through the use of hands-on art materials, experiments, engineering design challenges, and developing prototypes from sketches and block models. We explored materials collected from nature to develop skills in the areas of contour line drawing, texture, and form, to develop diagrams, and to ponder the intricacies of nature-made "architecture" to inspire our own inventions. Students explored our classroom nature lab in support of honing necessary shared observational skills spanning art and science.
The ability to really look closely, beyond their trained artists' eyes was strongly enhanced through the use of science tools, such as a magnifier set, and through examining exposed characteristics of specimens through illumination using a light tablet and iPad. Use of these tools elevated student confidence in integrating science and art concepts relevant to future learning and pursuits. Opportunities for student access and transdisciplinary application of real-world 21st century thinking and learning were strongly supported by the investigations made possible by using these new resources I believe it is these opportunities and open-ended learning experiences that will foster student creativity and innovation--the innate abilities so often crushed by standardized compliance-level rote learning typical of century-old learning models still prevalent in education today. This project helped us to be trailblazers in cultivating the creative and innovative thinking vital to thriving as a society in the very near future when this generation will join the workforce.
Kimberly Olsen is an Innovation Collaborative Fellow and, PK-2 Art Specialist at Centre School, in Hampton, New Hampshire