Perpich-Graham Judd- 3 Hours
The Minnesota Science Museum-Jan Elftmann-8 Hours
Perpich The students are starting a smaller project because of how weird the semester ended up being. Graham decided to add an accordion book project into his syllabus. Bookmaking is what I tend to do in my practice so they worked out perfect. It was cool to see students mocking up books and dealing with a lot of the same issues I do in my work. One student was struggling with displaying landscape images in a portrait style book. She made her pages landscape but folded it vertically so when opened the book would sag down. I would have done it differently and I'm glad she figured it out on her own. Her book structure suits her imagery and speaks to the way she thinks way more than me telling her how to do it.
The Science Museum! My shadowing is finally here! I'm working with Jan Elftmann who is an artist teaching science. She works in the youth program at the Minnesota Science Museum and this week students are coming in for 2 hours everyday all week long. The class is Shocking Electricity and its all about circuits, magnets and of course electricity. The students are in 4th and 5th grade and come from four different middle schools. Its such a cool program, these students are picked specifically to come and are really eager to learn. A surprising number of teachers and facilitators of the program also graduated from MCAD or have a background in art.
The wonderful connection between art and science is that they are both so hands on, especially at this age. Everyone gets to try everything and build things themselves. Art and science also have a kinesthetic component as well as a visual. Often students set up an experiment and needed to watch for results. The skills used in both science and art are so interchangeable I'm surprised they aren't combined more often. Observation, attention to detail, understanding how things work and their properties are important to both. I'm so glad I got to see a teaching artist science class because it gives so much perspective on art and teaching artists.
Since the students are from different schools I've noticed sometimes there is a need to show off. Kids say things like "Oh, at our school we've already done this" but its not a huge competition. They are still young enough to work together and often bond of simply things like a love for dance. Jan is really good and making sure everyone understands and nobody feels left behind or stupid. Especially since they are mostly experimenting, every observation is good even if it didn't work like it 'should'. In art and science we learn more from our mistakes than our successes.
Next week I'm back at The Science Museum for the same lesson, although with different kids. Its such an incredible place, I'm glad I can spend some time there this semester.