Center for Creative Energy


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The following is a list of all entries from the Art/Science Fusion category.

Art Science Fusion: Get Creative with Art and Science

We just wrapped our second week of Art/Science Fusion for 2nd graders here at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts and the Upper Colorado River Authority. We hope your students have enjoyed their time here with us so far! For those teachers who are looking to continue writing nature inspired poetry with their classes, here’s a link to the poem form: HaikuPoem

 

Also, here are some of the artworks we looked at for inspiration.

 

And finally, we have a poll for your students! Check it out below.

 

Also, please feel free to share thoughts, ideas or activities your students are doing in the classroom that connect to Where in the World is Nature!

 

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Where in the World is Nature?

Cotton is so cool! Literally.

We have been finding nature everywhere!  After touring the museum galleries with Megan and witnessing nature in art… students headed over to the UCRA Water Education Center with Christy (that’s me) to jump into the science of it.

In Session 2 of Art/Science Fusion we found limestone in the art museum building  (made from sea creatures…. can you believe that?), cotton in our blue jeans, mesquite wood in tables and sheep’s wool in blankets.  Humans are more connected to nature than we realize.  And we are pretty smart about how to use these resources – because we watched how they are used in nature!  Cotton is light and breezy to disperse those seeds and wool keeps sheep warm and dry  and so it keeps us warm and dry too.

After thinking about all of this, we classified and sorted many PRODUCTS  made from these natural resources into the right bins.  We did amazingly well! We also really understood how taking care of the world around us is so important in making sure we have these resources for many more years.

Sorting the products


Haiku from San Angelo

Last week during our Where in the World is Nature tour, San Angelo 2nd graders discussed how artists use nature. After viewing some great artworks, we worked together to write haiku poems  Here are a few of them along with photos of some of the art we talked about:

Trees

by Ms. Bennett’s 2nd grade class at San Jacinto Elementary

The floor is mesquite

The sculpture is crepe myrtle

Trees are nature made

 

 

 

 

Untitled (About Sudden Insight)

by Ms. Nixon’s 2nd grade class at Belaire Elementary

Wood-wax-metal-sticks

Hard bumpy sculpture, black

Hangs from the ceiling

Stone

by Ms. Garcia’s 2nd grade class at Belaire Elementary

Stones are hard, smooth, flat

Colorful, bumpy, rocky

Stones make solid walls

 

 

 

 

 

Rainstorms

by Ms. Oakley’s 2nd grade class at Belaire Elementary

Rainstorms, hail, water

Tornado–destruction, car!

Loud scary thunder

 

 

 

Clay

by Ms. Jackson’s 2nd grade class at San Jacinto Elementary

Clay is very wet

Clay is shaped and used by artists

It is dried and baked


Welcome to Art/Science Fusion

Welcome to the spring 2012 session of Art/Science Fusion.

The big question we are answering during the next 4 weeks is: Where in the World is Nature?

The videos, projects and other goodies we post here will help you connect Art/Science Fusion to the classroom. Check back every week for new posts.

To get started, work as a class to make a list of things that come from nature. Then, send that list to Megan at megan@samfa.org. I will post the lists on the blog. Let’s see which classroom can name the most things from nature. Ready? Go!

Looking forward to seeing you this spring. And psst! The next post is a sneak peek of one of the works you will see on the tour.


Lloyd Blanks

Lloyd Blanks

What materials did Lloyd Blanks use to create this artwork? Find out on our tour!


Gallons and gallons of trees?

With the holidays approaching, the Center for Creative Energy is getting into the spirit. It’s a festive time of year, and the UCRA Water Education Center in San Angelo, Texas is buzzing with cheer. Here’s why:

1. Art/Science Fusion final show on December 15th! We just got some great press in the San Angelo Standard Times, so we know we’re going to see a crowd. Check it out! Below are some photos from the fall programs.

Students talking about lithographs from SAMFA's Early Texas Art collection.

Christy shows some desert survivors during her session about adaptation.

Students learn to create linoleum prints with Bekah in the Education Studio.

2. Aqua Squad’s exhibit ideas are coming together in physical form! After cleaning out over 100 gallon jugs from the local recycling center (Dr. Christy Youker gets an enormous HIGH FIVE for that heroic feat–some of those jugs were pretty rancid), Bekah and Megan built two gallon trees (with the help of Emily) to represent how much water most households use per day. Aqua Squad came up with this idea and now it’s real–just in time for the holiday season. Click here to see how Aqua Squad came up with this great idea. The official “tree lighting” will be during the Art/Science Fusion final show. Come back after Thursday to see a video of the tree lighting.

A work in progress. Soon it will have lights and ornaments with important water usage factoids.

What are they building in there? Something pretty AWESOME!


Lithography

During the Flood and Drought: Texas With and Without Water tour, Art/Science Fusion 2nd graders view a series of lithographs by Texas artists. So far the students have been curious about how you can put a drawing on a stone and then print from it.  Here’s a great video from the Museum of Modern Art explaining the process in more detail: 

Lithography involves too many heavy chemicals (and stones!) to do in the Education Studio at SAMFA. So instead, we’re doing relief prints. Here’s the process we’re using:

Although, not as fast!


Flood and Drought: Art Science Fusion gets Serious (but we’re still fun!)

This fall’s Art/Science Fusion couldn’t be more timely for West Texas, or serious! Just today, USA Today featured San Angelo in a front page story about one of the worst droughts in Texas history. This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the 1936 Flood, during which the Concho River took out 12 buildings downtown and destroyed 300 homes!

The theme for Art/Science Fusion is Flood and Drought: With and Without Water in West Texas. The goal is to get 2nd graders thinking about the critical role water plays in everyday life, and how we in San Angelo can work to respect and conserve this precious and powerful resource. They will take a tour of the West Texas collection at SAMFA with Megan, learn about desert adaptation with Christy at the UCRA, and then make prints about our water situation with Bekah in the Education Studio. Below is a sneak preview of some of the art the 2nd graders will see, and some useful links related to the program.

A great story from the USA today about the drought in Texas: USA Today

A nice resource about plants that thrive in the desert. What can we learn from them? Plants

The National Weather Service’s report on the 1936 Flood in San Angelo: Flood

An interactive site about Early Texas Art.  Be sure to click the link on the left to see the unique regions of Texas! Texas Art

Check back for a  full curriculum, and also be sure to see Old Fort Concho’s new exhibition on the 1936 Flood opening on Saturday, September 17th (the actual anniversary)!

Although visiting the Fort for the flood exhibition isn’t possible during the Art/Science Fusion sessions, we STRONGLY encourage your class or school to take a trip over to check out this timely exhibition either after one of your Art/Science Fusion sessions or later in the year. It would be a great way to add some local history into your curriculum. We’ll be touching on Texas history a bit, but nobody can do it like Bob and his team of educators next door! I will officially say the more interdisciplinary the better. Plus I love the Fort–they have good history and a couple of ADORABLE mules!

See you soon!


Art/Science Fusion is Famous!

The Institute for Museum and Library Services has recently featured Art/Science Fusion as their project profile for June! The Center for Creative Energy  is

gaining some national attention for our creative approach to interdisciplinary learning and collaboration. Check out our profile here: IMLS June Profile.

Please keep visiting the blog to keep up with our summer programs Aqua Squad and Camp Odyssey. We will feature posts from students, SAISD educators, and other special guests in the next few months. Learning is a fantastic journey, you should join us!


Learning with Leonardo

Summer is almost here, and as I found myself researching for our upcoming Summer for Kids curriculum, I stumbled upon this archived article about an elementary school in the D.C. area: Leonardo’s Curriculum

It was published in the late nineties, but I really liked the idea at the heart of this article(and really at the heart of Leonardo’s life) which is living to learn. Discovery, imagination, science, art and many other disciplines connect in ways that not only make for a dynamic learning experience, but also a more meaningful life.

Does anyone have any other examples of quality interdisciplinary curriculum like this one they could share? If you’re an educator, how do you connect themes, topics, and different disciplines in your own curriculum design?


Farewell Art/Science Fusion Spring 2011

Thanks for being such a great group of 2nd graders! Here’s a special message from the staff at the Center for Creative Energy! Have a safe and fun summer, everyone!


Environmental Education Webinar

Hi Everyone! Lillian just brought this awesome webinar to my attention. Sounds like a great opportunity to discuss the importance of programs like Art/Science Fusion. Best of all it’s free! I will definitly be participating.

 Shades of Green: Developing Artistic Approaches to Environmental Education 
Thursday April 7, 2011, 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. EST 

Presenter:  Hilary Inwood

This webinar explores the emerging field of eco-art education, an integration of art education and environmental education, as a means of helping to develop environmental literacy in students and teachers. Hilary will introduce artwork and artists focusing on environmental issues in Canada and beyond, as well as some of the eco-art work that has been created in Toronto schools in recent years. Participants will be invited to share their own ideas and projects for creative approaches to EE.

Age appropriateness:  K-12

Hilary Inwood is a Lecturer in the Initial Teacher Education program at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. She holds degrees in education (M.Ed, University of Toronto), art history (MA, York University) and art education (Ph.D), Concordia University. Her research focuses on integrating art education with environmental education to develop learners’ environmental literacy in school and community settings. Her work as an educator and artist extends beyond the classroom to include school gardens, outdoor education centres, parks and galleries.

To sign up for this event, go to:  http://greenteacherwebinarinwood.eventbrite.com


Connecting Art and Science for the 21st Century

Lillian and I just returned from the National Art Education Association national convention in Seattle, Washington. While there we shared Art/Science Fusion with museum and school educators from around the nation, and came home feeling confident that this program is aligning positively with the national conversation about education. There were lots of discussions about collaboration, making interdisciplinary connections in our curriculum, and about what skills young learners will need as they progress into the 21st century. What was most apparent to me is that educators have to keep pushing at boundaries and barriers in order to make real progress in education. Below are some inspiring highlights from our trip.

Artists as Thinkers and Collaborators: Mark Dion’s Neukon Vivarium

Neukon Vivarium, an installation located in the middle of Seattle,  is a dead Hemlock tree sustaining an entire ecosystem as if  it had been left in the forest to decay. The work is stunning in the middle of the city, as is the immense effort it takes fo r humans to recreate the conditions necessary for this natural process to happen in an urban area. The ecosystem in this artificial space thrives because it is constantly cared for by a staff in totally stable conditions within a custom built greenhouse.  Think of how the earth could continue to thrive if we cared for it as carefully as this work (which happens to be part of the collection at the Seattle Art Museum)!  Think of how the earth might thrive if we simply left it alone.

Are either of these options a possibility? What role do humans play in sustaining and destroying the environment? What is our place in nature? These questions are important points of departure for our programs at the Center for Creative Energy.

Education in the next century: 21st Century Skills

With technology, digital media, and science changing rapidly it becomes more pressing everyday to ensure that students are coming away from their school years as adaptable, creative, and critical thinking citizens. A vast number of educators have expressed their concerns with No Child Left Behind and the emphasis that legislation places upon standardized testing at the expense of meaningful learning. As that legislation comes up for re-authorization educators must be prepared to articulate what we envision education to be, and what policies will best help us to make those visions a reality.

An interesting advocacy initiative called 21st Century Skills re-imagines what knowledge and abilities are necessary to live successfully in the 21st century. 21st Century Skills places equal emphasis on building factual knowledge and on developing creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills. This approach is exciting because it prompts us to think about education from a fresh perspective. Think about this: 

How could we help children develop creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills through our curriculum?

How would doing so change the way we approach curriculum design?

These are just some of the questions that were floating around in my mind as I wandered Puget Sound. Now that I am back in San Angelo, it’s time put these questions to work by developing quality programs for our students.

In the next few weeks we’ll be focusing more on education policy, as well as keeping you updated with what’s happening with Art/Science Fusion! As always, comments, new ideas, and suggestions are welcome.


Watercolor

SAISD second graders laying down washes

This week, many of our Art/Science Fusion 2nd graders put the finishing touches on their landscapes. The children spent three weeks on their artworks. During the first week, they completed pencil sketches of their landscapes. The next week they masked off everything they wanted white, and laid out broad washes of color. During their final week in the studio, they added details with smaller brushes, speckled, and used sea salt to add texture.

Watercolor artists will create quick watercolor paintings en plein air (a French phrase meaning in open air, which is most commonly associated with French Impressionists who, obsessed with light, loved to paint outdoors), or over time in the studio. Walt Davis, whose work the students looked at on their gallery tour, paints en plein air while traveling and creates larger works back home in his studio.  All of Josephine Oliver’s works were created en plein air during her trips to to west Texas in the 1920s and 1930s. If your students don’t remember these works, check out the All About Texas Tour Ppt. for a refresher!

Here is a great video of an artist doing a watercolor sketch. Please feel free to share this with your students. Do they recognize any familiar techniques?

 

en plein air

Our Rivers Inspire Us!

What a wonderful way to start our Art/Science Fusion! As the “science person” in this venture (I am Christy… at the UCRA Water Education Center), I just love bringing in all of this art at every opportunity.

We managed to integrate not only science and art, but also geography and Texas history in this first round of sessions.  Texas is simply just so huge!  That means that the waterways that serve as our borders have some very different ecosystems!  Our 2nd graders became “Eco Region Experts” and sorted images of different plants and animals and presented these to the whole group. These regions were based on those waterways that serve as our borders:  Rio Grande River, Red River, Sabine River and the Gulf Coast. As students  explored sketching and watercolors, they learned what it meant for artists to be inspired by their surroundings.  The humid Sabine River with bald cypress trees and alligators looks very different from the Rio Grande River as it runs through the Big Bend area of Texas.  After learning about these different ecoregions of Texas, the students could decide which one truly inspired them.

After our long journey around the borders of Texas, I was ready to head straight for the Gulf Coast for a relaxing time on the beach hanging out with dolphins and sandpiper birds! I am pretty sure our 2nd graders were too!

 


Lessons About Water

San Angelo had a crazy snow/ice storm last week, so Art/Science Fusion readjusted scheduling to make sure that SAISD 2nd graders still get the most from the program. Christy and I (Meg) shared a couple of sessions, and it got me thinking about how important water is to this program.

One of our major themes and goals for the Center of Creative Energy is to connect the curriculum to water. For the All About Texas Art/Science Fusion curriculum we use water in a couple of ways:

Laying down washes of color.

1. We’re using watercolor. Okay, a bit literal, I know…BUT Walt Davis, who is featured in the All About Texas exhibition at SAMFA, created beautiful watercolor paintings to document the journey he and his wife took around the edges of Texas. Our 2nd graders are learning some basic techniques like masking, washing, and dry brushing to create watercolor postcards of the Texas landscape. At the end of the program, the kids will exchange their postcards along with a letter sharing their thoughts about their time at the Museum and Water Education Center.

Christy and students organizing Texas wildlife according to region.

2. We’re focusing on how water (in the form of rivers and an ocean basin) helps create the shape of Texas. This naturally leads to a great discussion about how ecologically diverse Texas is. Texas has 7 ecologically unique regions featuring deserts, swamps, canyons, prairies, and beaches.

Why does Texas have such an awesome terrain? Because different amounts and kinds of water (salt vs. fresh) can create different ecosystems and landforms. Of course, Texas being really, really big helps a lot!

As we continue to teach this program, we hope that students are starting to think about the important role both water and art play in their lives.

If you have a moment with your students, ask them why water is important. Then, feel free to share those responses in the comment section below.

Thanks, everyone!

–Meg


First Week Highlights

Well, the first week of Art/Science Fusion has come to an end,  and the All About Texas Road Trip Tour was lots of fun.  Below is a PDF of the tour outline, a PowerPoint presentation of the featured artworks, and some photos of our “trip” so you can get a feel for the week.

We would love for educators to use this tour in their own classrooms, especially if your students are learning about Texas, different art mediums, or plant life and animal habitats.

Also, it’s a great exhibition, so if you can’t make it out to San Angelo to see it, you can save some gas and view it in the download (although art in real life is ALWAYS better…)

All_About_Texas_Road Trip Tour Guide

All About Texas Tour Ppt.

If you do use these resources, we would love to hear your feedback and any creative uses or new ideas you may have added.  Feel free to post below, or email me at megan@samfa.org.

chatting about Mary Baxter's work

sketching a view of the Concho River


Art/Science Fusion Kick-Off

The first group of Art/Science second graders just got on the bus to return to Santa Rita Elementary School. I expected to feel exhausted, but I actually feel energized! Who knew that 3,000 + mile trip around Texas with 20 second graders could be so awesome?

We took a “road trip” tour across the state of Texas in the All About Texas exhibition (don’t worry, we wore seat belts). To keep ourselves occupied on journey, we chatted about artist materials, scale, and what the weather might feel like if we able to step into one of Mary Baxter‘s beautiful oil paintings, or perhaps join Josephine Oliver on one of her fantastic summer art making trips.

At the end of the tour, we did a little sketching of our own. Below are some wonderful drawings the students created. Later this month they will be adding color and detail using watercolor.

view of the pedestrian bridge across the Concho River to downtown San Angelo

In the top image, you can see SAMFA's director, Howard Taylor, showing some fellow museum folks around the grounds.

 

view of the Cactus Hotel and the Oakes St. Bridge from the Museum balcony

Stay tuned for updates about on student progress. Next week the students will visit Ms. Christy at the Water Education Center to learn about the science that makes the Texas landscape unique!



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