Does learning about and applying a variety of art techniques and media help students make connections and build upon their understanding of the changes that occur to the earth's structure and surface?
Project or Program Summary
Please provide a summary of the project/program as demonstrated in the case study:
This project focused on integrating visual art with science. A team of third and fourth grade classes studied rocks, minerals, and landforms while learning how to use multiple media (soft pastel, oil pastel, acrylic, watercolor, and paper) and techniques (blending, stippling, hatching, crosshatching, mosaic collage, and zooming) to investigate and create visual representations of their understanding of the composition and materials of rocks, minerals, and landforms.
Portfolio Purpose and Rational
Portfolio Purpose and Rationale: Why has this case study been submitted?:
The teaching team at Agassiz Elementary, Akemi Taguchi (3rd grade), Jennifer Dyson (3rd grade), Cathleen Fitzsimmons (4th grade), and teaching artist, Ellen Tritschler, have been working together for over a decade. The projects they implement with their students are wonderful examples of the high-level arts integration that CAPE works toward in all its programs. Their students learn a wide range of art techniques and get to experiment with multiple media as a way to deeply engage with their academic lessons, which deepens their understanding and helps them make connections to lessons later in the school year.
What are your overall conclusions regarding the documentation gathered for this case study?:
Documentation is a central element of CAPE's work. Documentation for this project included photographs of students at work, thorough teacher and artist reflections along the way, personalized pre- and post- student assessments, final student artifacts, and students' written critiques of their peers' work. This documentation together reveals students who are focused and practicing proper art techniques with a variety of media, and who are enhancing their understanding of their science subject matter, as well as a cross-grade teaching team that is thoughtful and successful in planning and implementing arts-integrated science projects.
What conclusions have you drawn from the responses to the assessment tools you have developed?:
For many years, CAPE has used its own teacher/artist/staff-developed, research-based, Creativity Indicators to measure arts-integrated practice and learning, though recent focus has expanded to encourage and support our teaching teams to design, implement, assess, and redesign their own project-specific arts-integrated assessment tools to use in their classrooms. These unique, personalized assessment tools designed by each teaching team offer more specifics on how students grow and translate their arts integrated learning.
Answering the Inquiry Question
Back to the initial inquiry question, can it be answered?:
Indeed. Akemi, Jen, Cathleen, and Ellen found that their approach resulted in their students being able to see different textures in sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks and to translate what they saw to the paper. Drawing reinforced what students were learning about the properties of the rocks, so they were able to share their knowledge and then expand upon it as they investigated the intricacies of the rocks' and minerals' surfaces. By drawing the whole rocks and then the details of all three different rocks, they developed a deeper understanding of commonalities and differences between the rocks types and structures.
Conclusions: What Was Learned
What was learned?:
The teaching team reported that they were happy with the outcomes of the unit and that they continued to see their students connecting the unit to other work during the rest of the school year. Creativity Indicators they reported in their classrooms include: - Students exploring 'What if...?' through in-depth discussion - Students seeing multiple perspectives - Students inviting, incorporating, and offering critical feedback The teaching teams also succeeded in meeting many Illinois State Standards for both visual art and science.
Conclusions: What Can Be Done Differently In The Future
What can be done differently in the future?:
Ellen noted in her reflections that while students commented a lot of the development and growth of their peers work, they did not reflect much on their own work. The teaching team will consider and experiment with ways to improve students' in-process self-reflection in future units.
Conclusions: How Will This Inform The Work Moving Forward
How will this inform the work moving forward?:
The Agassiz teaching team will continue to refine and adapt their projects every year to explore new and ongoing curiosities of the the teachers and teaching artist and to meet the unique and ever-changing needs of each year's new classrooms.
Core Content Standards
Speaking and Listening:
Comprehension and Collaboration
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
Science / Dimension 1: Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
Developing and using models
Planning and carrying out investigations
Analyzing and interpreting data
Science / Dimension 2: Crosscutting Concepts That Have Common Applications Across Fields:
Scale, proportion, and quantity
Systems and system models
Structure and function
Stability and change
21st Century Learning Skills
Learning and Innovation / Creativity and Innovation:
Work Creatively with Others
Learning and Innovation / Critical Thinking and Problem Solving:
Make Judgments and Decisions
Learning and Innovation / Communication and Collaboration:
Life and Career / Initiative and Self-Direction:
Manage Goals and Time
Be Self-directed Learners
Life and Career / Leadership and Responsiblity:
National Core Arts Standards
National Core Arts Standards: