Science Through Art
The STArt! teaching Science Through Art program
focuses on basic concepts addressed in
the new California K-12 Science Content Standards. Through narrative
discussions, hands-on workshops using art materials, educational
animations, and molecular visualization software, STArt! makes science
education a learning experience involving all the senses.
Need Statement. Despite its historical importance, art is often
considered a stepchild in grade school education. Art is among the first
subjects to go when schools cut budgets. Yet, when budgets expand, science
takes priority over the arts because it seems more relevant to national
goals. An underlying principle of the STArt! program is that - not only
are art and science key elements for understanding the world around us,
but the two are intimately related. For example, musical scales demonstrate
mathematical relationships, a child's kaleidoscope displays geometric
principles, and the DNA helical form, whether represented in illustrations,
sculptural models, or visualization software, is critical to understanding
it's genetic function.
Program Objectives. Using an "Artist
in Residence" format, one day a week is made available for workshops
developed in collaboration with participating teachers.
- Provide a creative resource for teachers in meeting
the California Science Standards.
- Create a model for integrating science and art education
in way that's exciting, meaningful and accurate.
- Learn by hands-on participation: students see it,
touch it and smell it. Once students internalize science through physical
experience, the concepts will resonate throughout their everyday lives.
Methods. The three-part modules consist of:
1. Discussion. Introduce science concepts using storytelling and
analogies as well as traditional analytical procedures. When appropriate,
a brief animation will accompany the presentation.
2. Hands-on Workshop with Art Materials. Organize group activity
based on curriculum topics, such as coloring or creating clay models of
molecules. Play-acting and costumes may also be employed. The art discipline
will be selected based on best fit with grade level and science topic.
(Extra credit may be given for composing a song based on topic after class.)
3. Computer Lab. Explore molecular models of familiar substances
using visualization software (freeware or low cost district-wide licenses).
Access the Mathmol Website covering molecular modeling for K-12 students.
(Created by Marvin Rich, www.nyu.edu/pages/mathmol/)
Sample Workshop Topics:
- First Grade: Different Forms, Soap and Water.
- Second Grade: A Body in Motion - Mrs. Garcia Goes to
- Third Grade: Molecules with Tangible Properties.
- Fourth Grade: Inside Story on Rock Forming Minerals.
- Fifth Grade: The Periodic Table and the Essential Elements
- Six Grade: Geology and Layer Cakes.
- Seventh-Eight Grade: Nutritional Polymers - Exploring
- High School: Transcription and Translation - Building
an Insulin Protein Molecule based on the DNA Template.
Evaluation. The students will be evaluated on workshop
project and involvement in group activities. Additionally, pre- and post-workshop
assessment tests will evaluate the students increased understanding of
the topics and the effectiveness of the STArt! program. Answers may be
given using words, drawings, or models. The students' subjective interest
in art and science will be assessed with tests as well as from teacher's
Brief Biography. The STArt! program was developed
by Susana Maria Halpine, a long-time proponent of teaching science through
art. Working under Nobel laureate Eric Kandel at the Howard Hughes Medical
Institute at Columbia University, she received a Master's degree at the
medical school while continuing to paint and exhibit in New York City
galleries. Halpine received a Mellon Fellowship at the National Gallery
of Art in Washington, DC, to transfer biotechnology to Art Conservation.
She created the position of Biochemist and developed methods for the micro-analysis
of artists' materials. Halpine began developing interactive educational
materials in 1996. She's created medical education videos, CD-ROM's and
companion Websites for college-level science textbooks published by W.
H. Freeman, and a TV spot for UNICEF. (See http://home.earthlink.net/~shalpine/anim)
In 1994 Halpine was invited by the Smithsonian Institution's National
Museum of Natural History to conduct a day-long teachers workshop on the
use of art materials for K-6 science instruction. At an Authors
Day presentation in Huntington Beach, CA, 4th and 5th grade students explored
chromatography and the types of binders used in ancient Egyptians paint
preparations. Halpine has also given hands-on Audubon tours to students
from the Los Angeles Unified School District. She currently volunteers
at the Venice Arts Mecca in Venice, CA, where she teaches Macromedia Flash
animation at an after school program.
Women Chemists Committee Chair, American Chemical Society Los Angeles
Women in Animation, Los Angeles Section.
Susana Maria Halpine
Candle Light Productions
Playa del Rey, CA 90293
To see educational animations, visit: http://home.earthlink.net/~shalpine