beyond memorization: understanding Earth's systems using science textbooks, photography, and abstract painting
Creative City 5th Graders studied Earth’s systems (geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere: Next Generation Science Standard 5-ESS2-1) using Discovery Education science curriculum materials. They read texts, watched video clips, and discussed, defined and applied new vocabulary. Student assessment was conducted before and after this regular, standards-based instruction.
Two arts integrated extensions were then offered to deepen understanding. Taking a place-based approach, students first used photography to document examples of Earth’s spheres that they could directly observe around the school grounds. Students then wrote about the relationship between spheres as evidenced in their photo. (Fig. 1) As a second arts integrated approach, students participated in a painting project inspired by African-American abstract artist, Alma Thomas. Students researched and selected habitats to depict, and planned their representation through abstract painting. (Fig. 2) Ultimately, they explained to their class and teachers what they had represented about Earth’s systems.
Student assessment was conducted again at the completion of the arts integrated extensions. The assessment tool remained static in all three administrations, and the assessment questions were strategically selected because they mirror questions that also appear on the MISA standardized test, which these students will take later this school year. Results demonstrate the positive impact that arts integrated extension had on students’ understanding and mastery of grade level Science content.
Of the 45 fifth grade students who took all three assessments:
For questions or more information about Creative City's arts integration program or its alignment to standards-based instruction in all contents, contact us at 443-642-3600 or email Marisa Canino, Executive Director, at MCanino@bcps.k12.md.us.
(Comprehensive definition of Arts Integration from The Kennedy Center)