Center for Creative Energy


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Project Based 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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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!

 


Saving the Sailing Seas with Exhibit Design

Think these are real surgeons? Nope! They are just wax figures showing what life was like on the USS Midway.

Welcome aboard the USS Midway Museum! This is Gillian and Joe here to tell you about some of the cool things we saw there.

The above picture taken by Gillian is one of the many good examples of how this museum showed what life was like on the USS Midway.There was also an audio tour which gave facts and details about rooms and areas in the carrier. It was like listening to a book about the ship. Each number on the tour was another chapter in the story.We found out the aircraft carrier didn’t just float on water, but it had to use water to run. Here is a good site to see pictures of the USS Midway’s boiler room. http://www.midwaysailor.com/frankday/engineroom.html

The museum also had hands-on activities. We really liked the station where you had to figure out how to use the ship’s energy in the best way. This taught us that not everything is important and you must have your priorities straight to complete your mission. As members of Aqua Squad our mission is to educate the public about water issues–especially how to conserve and save it. And we will not stop fighting until we complete our mission! Hopefully our photo exhibit will be as organized as the exhibits at the USS Midway…


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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