Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Teachers, SFUSD staff, and museum educators gathered at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum to explore how science inquiry and fine art can combine to create rich interdisciplinary units for students across the K-12 spectrum for a day of professional development as part of the Science, Literacy, and Arts Integration in the Twenty-First Century (SLANT) program.

SLANT’s been advocating the use of notebooking as a tool for making thinking visible, documenting process, and reflecting on learning for a number of years. They also believe that rigorous scientific and arts practices aren’t all that different. Students can benefit from getting some science in their art and some art in their science. We were really pleased to be invited to help facilitate at last Wednesday’s professional development—you can see why we like to hang out with them!

Working with Sarah Soule at Cal Academy and Emily Jennings from the De Young, we put together an activity that had teachers explore how personal connections to art can inspire scientific inquiry that addresses the Next Generation Science Standards. Then, we showed them how to literally highlight their “lightbulb moments” from their conversations in their notebooks using paper circuitry—a project inspired by the work of our collaborator, Jie Qi.

There was a lot of really great conversation, ranging from concrete processing of how circuits really work to artistic implications of the medium. There was a lot of laughing and sharing of work. It’s always so gratifying to see how excited people get when the lights come on, both for the physical process of creating a circuit and the intellectual work of synthesizing art and science.