Enhancing Science Education through Art

By Merten, Susan | Science Scope, October 2011 | Go to article overview

Enhancing Science Education through Art


Merten, Susan, Science Scope


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Augmenting science with the arts is a natural combination when one considers that both scientists and artists rely on similar attitudes and values. For example, creativity is often associated with artists, but scientists also use creativity when seeking a solution to a problem or creating a new product. Curiosity is another common trait shared among scientists and artists, who are both interested in finding answers to questions and wonder about the world around them. In science, students are encouraged to wonder and ask questions, seek answers, try new approaches, provide honest evidence for claims they make, and create new understanding about the world around them. Practicing these attitudes will help middle school students develop their critical-thinking skills along with science literacy.

Whether you have in-school resident arts teachers available to collaborate with, or you need to rely on your own creativity, the arts adapt easily to a middle school science curriculum. Below are simple art activities that allow students to express their science understanding and creativity in ways other than traditional paper-and-pen tasks.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Introducing the relationship

Students new to middle school science often begin the year with a mix of anticipation and anxiety. To ease their transition and help students see the connection between science and art, I use one of the Benchmarks for Science Literacy, "habits of mind" (AAAS 1993), to link science to art early in the school year. The habits of mind are common values, attitudes, and skills necessary to promote science literacy and help students prepare for "life beyond school" (AAAS 1993, p. 281). In addition to "attitudes and values," habits of mind address "manipulation and observation," "computation and estimation," "critical-response skills," as well as "communication skills." I emphasize the natural connection between science and art by pointing to the values and attitudes employed by both: curiosity, observation, creativity, and skepticism with open-mindedness (NRC 1996). In class we discuss how both scientists and artists might use habits of mind in their work. Initially I ask students how scientists and artists might be alike, such as similar attitudes, similar values, or similar skills. This introductory activity can be done as a think/pair/share activity, in small groups, or as a whole-class discussion. After students have had time to brainstorm their ideas, we collaborate through whole-class discussion. I emphasize the natural connection between science and art by pointing to the values, attitudes, and skills employed by both scientists and artists, both of whom

* show curiosity and are observant of the world around them,

* value honesty and creativity,

* use tools to help them in their work, and

* use communications skills to express their ideas and record their observations.

Throughout the year, I refer to articles about art in newspapers and magazines. For example, articles regarding masterpiece restoration may address chemical breakdown of paints or canvas, often employing a forensic approach. In my classroom, I display posters of art that are connected to science. For example, Katsushika Hokusai's "The Great Wave Off Kanagawa" is inspired by a force of nature, and art photographs of the Grand Canyon exhibit sedimentation, erosion, and rock age. Photographs of volcanoes can connect to plate tectonics, and those of lightning or storms can be connected to energy in the atmosphere. Watercolors can be used to discuss natural phenomena and energy found in nature as well as chromatography, light absorption, and reflection of pigment. There are many science-related art posters available to choose from and accessible through the internet or when visiting an art exhibit.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

Using art for assessment

Weaving arts into science assessment is usually met with enthusiasm among middle school students. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Enhancing Science Education through Art
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.