Amanda from the University in Calgary writes. . .Hello, I am an art education student just about to enter my third year in a Canadian University. I was very happy to come across your site. It is very informative and helpful. My question to you or anyone who has any thoughts on the topic is: Does anyone have any ideas about integrating art with any of the four core subjects at the secondary level. If anyone has any ideas I would be grateful.
Thank you for a very important and popular question. Many schools are facing budget cuts in art curriculums and one of the ways to offset this challenge is by incorporating art into the basic lesson plans and core subjects. Art easily lends itself to cross curriculums, combining art with critical thinking skills, writing, and language arts, mathematics, science, anatomy, chemistry, psychology, religion, philosophy, engineering and on and on. I think that it is a good idea to first go to the Renaissance artist and engineer Leonardo da Vinci (ThinkQuest Project) and study the integral relationships of art and science. He was considered to be one of the first medical illustrators, his mechanical and engineering designs were so advanced that they only needed fuel to run etc. You can use Leonardo da Vinci in both Art and Science based projects.
Other Science Project Ideas
Exercise #1 1. Bring the outdoors in and let students observe first hand what nature looks like. 2. Ask them to observe and draw the items. 3. Discourage them from preconceived schematic drawings and ask them to really look and examine the fruits, vegetable, flowers, driftwood, bark, rocks, live animals, fossils and skeletons of animal, seashells and other natural materials. 4. Take photographs of the items. 5. Turn the photograph upside down and ask the students to draw the natural subject matter. 6. Go on a field trip to a local aquarium, zoo, tide pool or other natural wonder and ask students to make sketches of the natural subject matter found there. 7. Ask students to plant and observe a seedling become a plant, vegetable, or flower. Use a transparent container. Students should document through drawing the stages of growth and make a scientific illustration of the growth history.
Project #2 Issues of ecological concern and conservation can be addressed through drawing, painting, sculpture, video, (all art mediums). 1. Ask students to research the evidence that there has been an erosion of plants and that some 250,000 of today's current species of plants could be extinct by the early 21st century. Ask them to draw and catalog the species of plants and animals that are currently in danger. 2. Create an original stamp design of an endangered species, use original endangered postal stamps as inspiration. Ask the post office if they can refer you to research materials or educational packets to help in this project.
Chemistry and the Arts
Project #3 1. Ask students to create the volcano outlined on the Art of the World-Hawaii page on this site. You will find it easily in the index of projects. 2. Make an appointment with your local museum's conservator and ask for materials experts restore paintings, tapestries, etc. Take a field trip to the museum to see the actual process. Write the Metropolitan Museum in New York or visit their website (link below) and ask them to send you materials about conservation, internships in the conservation department of the museum, and the requirements for people who choose restoring and art conservation as a career, ( a field requiring lots of science and chemistry). 3. Use mirrors, microscopes, magnifiers, black lights etc. to illustrate concepts of light and color theories and other scientific concepts. Students can create very interesting abstract paintings by painting or drawing images discovered in microscope experiments. Or why not create a new micro design fabric! Mirrors can be used to illustrate concepts and to create self-portraits (students can study proportion and observe placement of facial features through portrait drawing exercises). Concepts of broken and reflected light can be illustrated through prism exercises that utilize acrylic and are brilliantly outlined in the work of artists outlined in the links below under "Light Sculpture." Create a kaleidoscope -anyone have a good design for a kaleidoscope? 4. Create 3D glasses. 5. Illustrate concepts of light by creating a Seurat painting. . 6. There are works of art that actual create a pysiological sensation- they pull at the optical nerve-kinetic art is one such style. Ask students to create a kinetic piece after viewing the links below. *A special note* Many kids are home schooled today. Art Teacher on the Net has some great ideas about how to enjoy art while discovering other core curriculum topics. For example, you could go to a museum and ask about how chemistry is used to restore works of art.
Social Science and Political Science Cross Curriculum Projects
Project #4 1. Offer a Craft Day to a local Senior Center, Children's Organization or other facility that would provide from art volunteers. Ask students to research projects that would be appropriate to age and skill levels. Students will gain satisfaction in putting smiles on faces through crafts. Art & Recreation leaders of these facilities should outline beforehand the challenges involved and appropriateness of the projects. Everyone will benefit from this art volunteerism. 2. Artists have often been political motivators. Thomas Moran, an American Landscape painter and member of the Hudson River School was just one of the artist who helped to get some of our greatest land preserved by taking his paintings to Congress and showing them the beauty of the landscape and the necessity to preserve it. He succeeded and even sold a painting to Congress. Ask students to look at the social problems around them. How could they convince Congress through the visual mediums photography, painting, video etc. to look and address the problem. A report on Thomas Moran would also be a good assignment to illustrate citizen involvement, and the American system of law making etc. 3. Field Trips to fire stations, natural history museums, art museums, major corporations etc. provide inspiration for collages, sketch book activities, and other art project ideas. 4. Topics and art projects that provide lots of interest are the following: a. Is Graphetti Art? See the Haring Link below. b. Funding for the Arts. c. Censorship in the Arts. d. Product Development. e. Costume and Set Design. f. The Impact of Television and Films. 5. Visit a local television station and then ask students to create their own television script and storyboard. Writing, Critical Thinking, and the Language Arts Cross
Curriculum Project #5. 1. Create a class or school newspaper and write art and film critiques. 2. Write the Smithsonian Museum and ask them for their teachers packet. There are excellent writing exercises and teach critical thinking skills. 3. Visit the Writing About Art Workshop by clicking the link below. History and Cross Curriculum Education
Project #6 1. Research the costumes of various period noting their political, social, historical, religious, cultural significance. Create an evolution of costume design through paper doll cut out figures and dress the dolls in the appropriate paper styles. 2. Study various cultures of the World and create art projects that correspond to the various countries. Create an entire unit surrounding the journey to that particular part of the world. Turn the classroom into a little "Italy," "Africa," "France," etc. Find pen-pals from the area of the world to write to, and of course, you will find lots of ideas for traveling through the art world of these countries on this site.
Anatomy and the Arts
Project #7 1. Study and make sketches of bones and muscles. 2. Transfer sketches into life-size drawing and attach the skeleton with the labeled bones and muscles "at the joints," with brads. 3. Students will love this walk around specimen and it makes a great learning tool.
Math and Business and the Arts
Project #8 1. Purchase inexpensive art prints and have an art auction. Look for an upcoming Project Sheet of the Week which will give the rules and art "money" used to purchase art items. 2. Open a student gallery at your school. Your students will learn lots of business ideas as they go through the actual hands on process of setting up an art space. You will need an art manager, resgistrar, tour guides, art host, events writer, and fund raising activities such as art sales of student work.
Engineering and the Arts Project
#9 1. Take a field trip to a car manufacturing plant and then as a follow up project ask students to create a car of the future. What might the problems of a designer be in the future? What fuel will be used? Will a place for cars be a problem? Will "cars" fly? Ask students to work in small groups.
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