Center for Creative Energy


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the interdisciplinary learning category.

Aqua Squad Dives into Exhibit Design

This week Aqua Squad is working on their photography exhibition! Painting, mounting labels and organizing their photographs takes a lot of effort–but it’s fun! Hopefully this exhibit will bring the community together to talk about the important issue of water.

Join us October 18th at 6 PM for refreshments, great photography and a chance to find out what you can do to help our River. Check out what we’re up to below.

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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!

 


On the Hunt for Great Photographs

Hi there! This is Kirstin and Ashley here to tell you about our visit to the Museum of Photographic Arts. While there we got lots of ideas about how to use photography to communicate our message about water conservation.

We took a photographic scavenger hunt around Balboa Park to practice techniques to improve our photographs. Below are some of the best photos from our hunt.

A Worm’s Eye View

Taking a photo from a worm’s eye view gives the audience the feeling that something is bigger and more important than the viewer.

A Bird’s Eye View

A bird’s eye view makes people feel as if they are larger and more important than what the photograph portrays.

The Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is when you move the camera so the subject is off center by either 1 or 2 thirds. This helps the audience focus on one subject while also showing how the background ties to the main subject of the photo.

Line & Shape

This photo uses line and shape to help lead your eye around the composition.

Each of these techniques enhances our ability to communicate successfully through photography. This is definitely going to help us make Crisis in the Cocho (our photography exhibit opening in October) a great show!

Our new friend James showing us how to print our photos in MOPA’s amazing library.

So if you are ever in San Diego we would definitely recommend going to the Museum of Photographic Arts. And thank you to James for being a wonderful tour guide!

 


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!


Do High Test Scores Really Help?

by Mark Guzdial

Just got this article in my inbox from Computing Education Blog.  If you can, please share it with as many administrators and school board members as possible.  If we want success for our youth here in America, we need to have an honest conversation about our priorities for education.  Testing causes a lot of stress for students, teachers and administrators. This article  made me ask, “Is it worth it?” If our test scores are not reflecting or positively affecting how our students perform in real life, what’s the point? Standardized testing is a great way to see if students as a whole are retaining certain content, but students need to do more with content than retain it. They need to live with it.

Our programs here at the Center for Creative Energy are  project-based, and although we align with state content standards, delivering that content for high test scores is not the goal. We like hands-on and minds-on learning where students get down and dirty with knowledge. (Literally. We spray paint storm drains, catch and identify macroinvertebrates, paint Texas ecoregions with watercolor, create prints about flood and drought in San Angelo, collect dead fish for art installations about dried up reservoirs, and much more.)

Activities like these deliver and reinforce content through participation rather than memorization and recall. It also connects content to real world problems like water conservation here in San Angelo. Project-based curriculum is rooted in the idea that learning is important for a healthy community and successful career. Students also smile a lot during our programs–not only is learning important for a great job, it’s also part of a happy life.

We work directly with our local school district (SAISD) to design and implement all of these programs, and a lot of our content delivery is relieved from effective classroom education. SAMFA and UCRA provide places where students can reinforce and apply content outside the classroom. Are partnerships between schools, museums, and community organizations a way to reach a happy medium between test-prep, content standards, and unique experiences that make learning meaningful in real life?

They could be, but right now it isn’t a perfect system that alleviates all test stress. The Center for Creative Energy often works outside the classroom system to facilitate programs. For example, we switched our audience for Art/Science Fusion from 3rd grade to 2nd because of test prep conflict issues in the spring. Aqua Squad and Camp Odyssey are summer enrichment programs not directly integrated into the classroom.

However, could our programs work during the school year alongside test preparation, even in support of it? Of course. Is trying it worth the risk to schools and administrators who stand to loose funding and jobs because of low performance? Probably not.  Incentive based standardized testing is a reality that every educator has to deal with until policy adjusts to real statistics outlined in great articles like the one above.

For now, we are providing unique art and science programs for as many students as we can. Students who haven’t yet experienced test related stress and those enjoying summer vacation to forget it are the ones who can gain the most from programs that connect learning to a happy life.

To end on a seriously sappy note, here’s a slideshow of happy smiles!

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Aqua Squad: ENGAGE!

Wow! It has been one amazing summer–I can’t believe it’s the middle of September already!

Aqua Squad has been out and about the community pitching their exhibition and education kit design ideas, and engaging the public with local water issues. So far they’ve presented to the San Angelo City Council and the board and director of the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts (SAMFA), and they made a special appearance at the Girl Scout’s Race on the River just today. Below is a video of Emily and Anyssa demonstrating how non-point source pollution affects our water supply during the river race:

Check back to see Aqua Squad racing canoes. It was pretty epic!

Aqua Squad will also present to the boards of the Upper Colorado River Authority and San Angelo Independent School District in the upcoming weeks. They will also head up an awesome hands-on station and art installation at the Eco Fair Family Day on October 8 at SAMFA.  (Bring a plastic gallon jug to the event if you want to be part of the action)!
Curious about their exhibition ideas and loan kits? So far, all I will say is that they involve pirate games, toilets, and lots of creativity and water facts! Below are the inspiration boards Aqua Squad created to share their ideas.

Good Design! Emily and Anyssa created a board about the elements and principles of design using recycled materials. They also changed the old fashioned color wheel into a color wave!

Inspiration from Chicago! Anne Marie, Ruby, and Will designed a board to highlight the most inspirational museums in Chicago. The font in all three inspiration boards came from their experience marking storm drains this summer with the UCRA. See the gallery below for pictures of that.

Jugs and jugs and jugs! Addison and Ethan designed this board to show how much water we use, but also how much waste we throw into our rivers. Later this board will be revamped into an awesome exhibition component and educational loan kit for schools! Note Will being held hostage by a pirate with a microphone in the upper corner. Awesome!

Okay, okay–I’ll give you  more details about their exhibition and educational resource ideas! The educational loan kit is a pirate themed board game about watersheds that will be take middle school students on a hunt for clean water. The jugs and toilets are part of an exhibit showing how much water we use daily (about 80 gallons!) and what we can do to use less. Both are going to be AWESOME!

The final products will be developed within the next few months, so be sure to check back on their progress. All of the projects were inspired by their experiences in Chicago, their love of water, and their dedication to the future of the San Angelo community. Drought may be lingering, but with these creative kids on the task of educating the public about water conservation and quality, I’m hopeful that this community will continue to grow and thrive as it invents new solutions to solve the water crisis.

To sum up the Summer, here’s a gallery of the Chicago trip and all of the awesome things Aqua Squad did do far! Enjoy!

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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!


From cago to angelo – messages from the Museum of Contemporary Art

Hi… this is Sully and Anne Marie!  Today’s adventure began at the Museum of Contemporary Art with Alex, our tour guide. Contemporary art, we learned, is art created by artists that are still living (well, usually). We were especially excited by the works of Mark Bradford. The most interesting part was the way the art was arranged. The walls were bright white which made the color pop! The lighting was perfectly pointed to the works which made it even more intriguing. The artist took everyday items and also things off the street and made them his own in a way that conveyed a strong message. And the thing about contemporary art is that it can often be perceived in different ways by different people!  One piece in particular was a GIANT boat that the community in New Orleans built after the devastating hurricane Katrina practically destroyed their homes and took many loved ones. The boat represented the personal struggles people went through to get through these hard times the flood had caused.

As Aqua Squad, we were inspired by the use of soundless video (like Mark Bradford used) to create a strong visual message.  And using everyday materials was also something we could take back with us to inspire others to take better care of our environment.  We began to think more abstractly and creatively – which was a big message from the Museum of Contemporary Art!

Here’s a video from the tour. Addison, Ann-Marie and Will are “owning it”!


Catching a Bone about Exhibit Design with Aqua Squad

Anyssa Catches a Bone about Exhibit Design at the Field Museum

Hey everybody! Have you been to the Field Museum in Chicago? If you’re an educational designer like us in Aqua Squad, you should go because it’s a great place to get new ideas for designing exhibits and giving information in a different way.

It showed us different ways to light exhibits (dimming the lights made the exhibits stick out, and if the lights were bright the artifacts might fade or lose their color), we saw how to arrange artifacts, where to put text panels, and unique ways to give information about the artifacts, (for example there were sculptures and paintings of dinosaurs to show what they looked like when they were alive). Here are some examples of some interesting things I saw:

a way to show how tough it is to get out of tar if you're a mammal

a quote from Darwin about biodiversity and lots of pictures to illustrate it

an example of good lighting

a nice text panel about the man who painted the murals that showed extinct animals and their habitats

a ticker showing how many animals go extinct per day...it said 30 just a few seconds before this photo was taken

Paula and Lillian

Our tour guide, Paula, was also a source of information because she has worked at the the Field Museum for a long time, she was really into the artifacts, and she was really happy to see other people enjoying the museum as much as she does. Paula really loves what she does! Taking the tour with Paula made the experience really special.

I loved visiting the Field Museum. You’ll never know what ideas you will get until you try something new!


Gaining Perspective, Touching on Innovation with Ethan and Emily

Today Ethan and Emily (who are writing this blog) and the other Aqua Squad members went to the Art Institute of Chicago. We each gained our own new perspective and experienced innovation through art.

Looking at Sky Above Clouds by Georgia O’ Keefe at the Art Institute

Georgia O’ Keefe’s last completed painting helped us to realize that things are not always as they seem. When asked what we saw in Sky Above Clouds, all of our answers were different. Not knowing what the title was, we all gave our answers: glaciers, clouds, white marble with blue grout (like flooring), a path, the sky, and even Chicago. It turns out it was painting of clouds from an airplane view. It looked familiar to us because it was very cloudy from our windows on the plane to Chicago. Georgia O’ Keefe was inspired by her first plane ride at age 62. For some of us in Aqua Squad, it was our first flight, too!

We learned that each person has their own perspective on art, and each piece gives out its own message to every person.

Learning about innovative art techniques

We also learned that we all have a unique sense of creativity, and used innovative artistic techniques to express our personal views of Chicago’s beautiful skyline and parks. Below are a few images of our experiments and works in progress.

Emily's brush experiments. Stay tuned for finished products! (The Art Institute will mail them to us once dry).

So how does all this relate to what we’re doing with water in San Angelo? Well, it helps us to become educational designers by challenging and inspiring us to create innovative ideas for helping our water systems! Today was an unbelievable experience that we will never forget!

To end, here are some of the most innovative things we’ve seen in Chicago so far!

Gears to the Michigan Avenue Bridge

The Shedd Aquarium ceiling

The Sky Deck at the Sears Tower

Pointillism!

And Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate at Millennium Park!


What Can We Learn about Water, Art and Science by a Great Lake?

This Sunday (at 6 AM) Aqua Squad, Megan, Lillian and Christy will be flying off to Chicago for an intense week of brainstorming, creativity, exploration, research, art and the big city life! When we return, we will use what we learned to develop fantastic exhibits, resources, and artworks that will help the public consider and understand one of the most critical environmental issues facing San Angelo, Texas and the world: water quality and scarcity!

Aqua Squad will be making posts throughout the week, but for now, here’s a quick look at the itinerary.

Shedd Aquarium

Aqua Squad will spend a whole day working with Director Ted Beattie brainstorming ideas for exhibition design. We’ll also be learning how to take complicated scientific concepts and present them to the public in a way that is engaging, emotional, and easy to understand. AND they have penguins, so we’ll probably learn a lot from those guys, too.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

Contemporary artists often have a knack for using unexpected materials, arresting imagery, and interactive spaces to get the public thinking and talking about important issues facing our world (including pressing environmental issues). Exploring the MCA collection will no doubt inspire us to create some truly innovative projects to get the public thinking about water. The Art Nerds in the group are also very excited about this exhibition: Pandora’s Box: Joseph Cornell Unlocks the MCA Collection.

 

 

Willis Tower (Sears Tower)

Okay, so Sears  isn’t actually headquartered there  and technically it’s not the Sears Tower anymore, but that doesn’t change the fact that this skyscraper offers a great view of Lake Michigan.  The Great Lakes hold 21% of the world’s fresh surface water, and we’re excited to see and study one of them. Gaining new perspectives and reaching new heights? We’ll definitely be checking that off our lists!


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!



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