The Art of Science at GEMS

Recently at Georgia Elementary & Middle School, puppeteer and GEMS alumni Sarah Frechette, along with artist Jason Thibodeaux conducted an artist-in-residency with 3rd & 4th graders.

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Sarah and Jason showed the students how to use light to manipulate depth and space by combining hand-cut shadow puppets with flashlights. This is a modern technique that creates a style of shadow that flows like film and brings practical application to the students studies on light.

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In just one week the 6 classes were introduced to their visual storyboard stories, cut unique hand-drawn illustrations into shadow puppets, rigged the puppets using rods and foam, added colorful acetate to their designs, and held a rehearsal in the classrooms.

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On the last day of the residency titled Shadows Rock 2016: Shadow Showdown the students presented their final shadow puppet shows in the GEMS small gym. As the shadows shape shifted across the shadow screen GEMS 1st-4th graders watched stories covering such topics as Practice Makes Perfect, Shadows & Light, Life Cycles, Vermont Business & Industry, Me on the Map, and Famous Vermonters!

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Combining science, math, history and ideas of working hard & friendship into the show give the shadows a purpose and allow the students to share what they have been learning in the classroom this year.

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Sarah Frechette travels around the U.S and the world with her original puppets and shows (www.puppetkabob.com). Jason Thibodeaux just finished painting puppets at the stop-motion animation studio LAIKA for the feature films Coraline, ParaNorman, Box Trolls and Kubo.


Target 1: Personalized Learning involving collaborative inquiry, problem solving and creative learning opportunities.

Action Step:  Students participate in learning opportunities that promote collaborative inquiry, problem solving, and creativity for students.

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