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Teaching through the Prism: Who Got Science in My Art?

June 3, 2011

This is the first installment in the Teaching through the Prism series, anticipating our upcoming national forum on Arts Integration, June 23−24. Learn more here.

Third grade student at Turquoise Trail Charter School in New Mexico studies the details of a rock that she will synthesize into a series of abstract artworks, part of a project blending art and geology curricula. Photos: Lynn Grimes

Many of us find that chocolate mixed with peanut butter is pure joy. What if art is our chocolate?  And K−12 education—language arts, math, science, social studies—is the peanut butter? What happens when you blend them? Curious?

Case in point:  this young girl using a jeweler’s loupe at Turquoise Trail Charter School in New Mexico, one of our national partnership schools. She uses the loupe to carefully observe a rock’s size, texture, color, and weight, recording her observations as a geologist would. She is asked to scrutinize even harder, following Georgia O’Keeffe’s call to look closely at the overlooked. Then she applies O’Keeffe’s principles of “selection, elimination, and emphasis” to synthesize her scientific drawings into an original abstract artwork.

Want to impress your friends with your education reform prowess? Talk about the power of “arts integration,” this mix of art and other curricula, to engage students and teachers. Need to back up the touchy-feely with facts? Browse through the President’s hot new report on the benefits of arts integration.

Suzanne Wright, Director of Education

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