Mr. Hannam (MS science) and Mr. Dimitrov (MS art) launched an interdisciplinary unit for Grade 7 students on Sept 8 with “What is Science” video and these inspiring slides as a provocation to spark students’ curiosity about the connections between the skills and understandings they are developing as artists and as scientists. Grade 7 students are deepening their understanding of ecology while honing their close observation and documentation skills. In this unit, students will understand and document things too small or too common for you to notice, understand the local ecological complexity and find an important ecological message to share artistically with our community.
Building the skills, understanding and possibilities
As this interdisciplinary ecology unit has developed over time, students are becoming more skilled at use of microscopes, using field journeys with sketches and notes to capture their observations. They are also building the appreciation and understanding of the local environment by noticing, learning about and documenting various species.
Below are glimpses of students’ journals as well as a science demonstration of what we often take for granted in terms of ecological functions – decomposition.
Below are glimpses of students’ journals as well as a science demonstration of what we often take for granted in terms of ecological functions — decomposition.
September 22 Stretch Day: Mushroom Magic
September highlights how Czechs have long been passionate mushroom hunters and experts. Last week’s Grade 7 students better understood why. With a short excerpt from the documentary “Fantastic Fungi” which explained why we can’t live without them and provoked students’ curiosity about these magical, magnificent and mighty organisms.
Having set the context for the days activities, the students then rotated through three different stations:
- Microscopic examination and and documentation of fungi from the community donated moldy specimens;
- Exploration of painting techniques and tools; and
Creation of a plastic microscopic representative sculpture with guidance from the Czech artist Veronika Richterová (who studied art, architecture and design both here in Prague and in Paris) who is currently using discarded plastic to create art objects. Please see more about her and this project in this video report.
Following last week’s stretch day, Gr 7 students have been visiting the local forest ecosystem to identify plants and fungi, using a phone app to identify organisms in the forest and documenting their findings with a photo, common name, genus, species and key descriptive notes.
Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting Middle School learning adventure as they consider and connect the complex ideas of ecology and artistic expression.