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 Post subject: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project!)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:56 pm 
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I am starting to work a bit on a project for my teaching portfolio. I feel very, very strongly that science should be taught in as integrative a way as possible, including any and all subjects, where appropriate.

As an example, I use snippets from Journey to the Center of the Earth, Jurassic Park, Twilight, and Huckleberry Finn (among others) to introduce various units. Huck Finn, especially is FABULOUS for river systems, and hopefully my 9th grade students benefitted from increased context when they went on to read it in 10th grade.

Twilight is great because most kids have read it, but they don't think about why Forks is so rainy. Whatever you think of the book, its a good hook for climate discussions.

Anyway, what I am trying to do now is get together some great art resources. When I was actually teaching, I didn't have a lot of time to spend on this, so I just used a few obvious paintings like Bierstadt for mountains and The Scream for volcanoes. I'll be going back through my art books and browsing online for more ideas, but since the PPK is always so wise and so full of art experts, I thought I'd ask here.

Do you have any favorite works of art (any media is great, even jewelry--I use Chinese jade carvings in my mineral uses lesson) that I could incorporate into Earth Science lectures? I'm going to create an annotated powerpoint of the works (including literature) and discuss how I integrate these resources into my lessons. There is quite a bit of research supporting this ideas, but admin tend to not like it because it takes away from test prep.

This is an ongoing thing that I'm working on as I have time, so no urgency.

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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:21 pm 
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Could you list some of the topics you cover in your ES lectures?


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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:58 pm 
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Hah, that might help!

Rocks, minerals, fossils, weather/climate, astronomy, volcanoes/earthquakes, oceanography (physical, not marine biology).

Pretty much anything geology, earth, or astronomy related.

To give an example of what I like to do (and this takes very little class time, but I think adds a lot of interest):

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/e ... Scream.jpg[/img]
I know its up for a lot of debate, but some art historians think Munch was influenced or inspired by the red skies after the Krakatoa eruption. Whether its true or not, its a useful stepping off point to talk about how a volcano on the other side of the world can have an impact.

And a painting by Church that I've used to talk about both polar expeditions and the aurora borealis.
Image

Of course, I use photos etc too, but for kids (especially girls as sadly, gender stereotypes in science education DO seem to hold true) who are not into science, but are more "artsy" it helps make it more relevant.

Basically my goal here is to put together a big portfolio of works that could be snuck in or referenced. My own personal preference is modern/pop art, which isn't very useful here! Though, I do have a lovely Warhol volcano print, but its not particularly educational.

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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:50 am 
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I'll keep those in mind and see if I can think of anything.

This is beyond what you're teaching, but I thought you might find it interesting: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/coc ... er-master/


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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:37 pm 
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Friedrich's The Polar Sea is one of my favorite paintings.

I just used google images to find it: http://www.google.ca/imgres?q=the+polar ... =64&ty=129

Always reminds me of that Kafka quote about an "axe for the frozen sea within us."

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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:08 pm 
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Turner's Rain, Steam, and Speed
Van Gogh's Starry Night, maybe?
The Hudson River School painters will have stuff you can use, I think. Thomas Cole, then Frederic Edwin Church painted Niagara if that's useful, Bierstadt has lots of big interestinglandscapes, etc.
Like seitanicverses, I was thinking of Friedrich and maybe also Gericault.


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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:28 pm 
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i'm not sure how to integrate it, but lots of the detail and depth we find in oil painting (and the art of the northern renaissance)was made possible by the new understanding of the materials- linseed oil and pigments had to comboed just right. the same is true for the amazing frescoes of the italian renaissance- the combo pigment and wet plaster had to be just right or it flaked- so artists, like divinci, didn't work precisely enough and their work has suffered more wear because of it.

this has a much closer link with chemistry topics, but since many of the pigments are minerals, you could easily talk about what different movements used and why- cave artists in france, and also how mineral moved in later periods (usually artists got them from pharmacists) which would have a further tie in with geography and geo-political topics.


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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:38 pm 
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Yeah, I do mention that during the mineral unit. I use William (the faience hippo that is at the Met) and talk about how the Egyptians created their blues and greens. I also talk about cinnabar in Roman frescoes.

I also try to mention the geopolitics of minerals by talking about how obsidian has been used to track Mayan trade routes and how you can tell how political stable certain Egyptian dynasties were based on distances from quarries (ie building materials chosen).

I love this stuff. I originally studied Egyptology before health got in the way. I did get to do an undergrad research project on raman spectroscopy of archaeological artifacts for the purpose of mineral identification. Cool stuff!

I tried to get the history teachers to coordinate a tiny bit with me so I could enhance my curriculum with what they were teaching, but they all blew me off (seriously, I just needed a loose semester unit outline or something!). 9th graders do ancient world history, so there is a lot of opportunity to "cross-pollinate."

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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:39 pm 
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Jildez, you've given me an idea for an art lab though as a way to identify minerals by streak. Have to think about that a bit.

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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:34 pm 
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How about art that was affected by natural disasters? Like the Pompeii statues and frescoes? Also, there is some Italian Renaissance art that would work, like a fresco by Pinturicchio which shows a storm at sea and a rainbow...I am assuming images of a religious nature and gods and goddesses living it up are out?


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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:36 pm 
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Just wanted to say you are such a good teacher, and I'd be thrilled if you were teaching Tofetus!

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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:41 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
Just wanted to say you are such a good teacher, and I'd be thrilled if you were teaching Tofetus!


Aww thanks!

The likelihood of my ever teaching again though is probably zero to none. I can't even get screening interviews now. Almost every district has policies against hiring non-renewed teachers. The fact that it was my first year, I have good recommendations, and have completed a masters since is irrelevant.

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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:49 pm 
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This may not be quite what you are looking for, but if you are doing the climate and landscape of the American Southwest, I would recommend Georgia O'Keefe. Also, of course her lovely flower paintings would be great for botany.


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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:06 pm 
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Thanks! I completely forgot about O'Keefe, and I can't imagine how as she is one of my favorites. I'll have to look through her cloud paintings and see if I can use those as well as the landscapes.

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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:24 pm 
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You mentioned jewelry and that reminded me of this thing I just learned about called Mourning Jet (or Whitby Jet)
Here's a snippet from the article that I read about it:

Queen Victoria was devastated when her husband Albert died in 1861, and she went into a period of mourning that lasted for decades (and in fact only ended with her own death). As her subjects, the English people were required to go into mourning as well — but while their clothes and jewelry were black, each item still featured the detail and embellishment critical to Victorian tastes.

It was at this point that Whitby jet really came into its own. Whitby jet is actually the fossilized remains of prehistoric trees, and is only found along a small stretch of Yorkshire coastline near the port city of Whitby (a town also famous for appearing in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula). Very light and intensely black (hence the term “jet black”), polished Whitby jet has a beautiful glow. It’s also easily carved, so it lends itself well to ornate designs. Whitby jet had been used since the Bronze Age for jewelry and decoration, but the onset of mourning after Albert’s death created a huge demand for black jewelry, and sales really took off. Imitations also sprang up, including glass (a.k.a. “French jet”), vulcanite, coal, bog oak, and even plastic.


Could lead to some interesting discussions about history or geology!


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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:35 pm 
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Oh wow! Awesome. I have never heard of that either, at least not those details. I never considered what jet actually is.

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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:58 am 
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And you can tie Whitby Jet in with Whitby Weekend, the giant goth festival! Get those anti-social lurkers at the edges of the classroom in on the lesson as well... 8)

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitby_Gothic_Weekend )

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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:45 am 
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this sounds like an awesome method of teaching. i applause you!


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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:37 pm 
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Whoo!! Full steam ahead here now that I have a job. I would like to find 2 paintings and a literary passage and/or musical piece to use during each unit.

My first unit will be Nature of Science. I'm going to make the kids assemble a cardboard fossil of a whale, but they will think they are making something with feet, especially since they will be told it was found in Egypt. The idea is to teach them to toss out their preconceived ideas and be willing to adjust their expectations.

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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:16 pm 
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Oooo! Fun!

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 Post subject: Re: Science through Art History? (help me with a fun project
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:28 pm 
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Congratulations on the new job!!


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