When skills, knowledge, and attitudes of different disciplines are applied to a single learning experience in a cross-curricular way, all students benefit. At the Georgia Elementary School, this is exactly what is taking place in the Art room.
Art Teacher Dorsey Hogg collaborates and plans with the STEM Coach to transform art in the classroom. Using this model, teachers are able to help students make connections across a variety of specific curriculum as children work on projects in relation to connected studies.
With this approach, here is what we have observed in our school:
- Students are learning in a meaningful way in conjunction with their wider life experiences.
- Students draw on similarities in and between individual subjects.
- Students are given meaningful learning opportunities.
- Staff and students are honing collaborative skills across curricular areas.
- Teachers have become imaginative and innovative in their curriculum planning.
During the first six weeks of school, first graders learned about reflective surfaces and the moon during STEM time. Now they are spending one lesson a week in the art room focused on STEAM and we are looking at the moon and reflection in different ways.
Our first project was to make our own moons by learning about texture. We read the book IF You Decide to go to the Moon by Faith McNulty and illustrated by Steven Kellogg.
The illustrations are paintings and Steven Kellogg made great contrasts between the warm and cool colors of Earth (showing life) and the monotone grays and rough textures of the moon (showing a lack of life). We talked about how a painting can show texture, and how an illustrator can use colors to communicate ideas.
To make our own moons we used celluclay and paper bowls as molds. To create the texture of moon rocks and moon sand, we used aquarium rocks and aquarium sand. The kids enjoyed exploring these new textures and materials!
The first graders learned that we can see the moon because the sun reflects off of the moon’s surface. They explored different reflective materials in STEM. We looked at how mirrors reflect and how you can play with an image when you change the angles of the reflections.
After exploring our mirror designs, we made small kaleidoscopes with mirror paper. We had a lot of fun assembling our kaleidoscopes!