Creativity in Schools: How Art Can Be Leveraged
This essay is a winner of JetWriters Essay Writing Contest 2015.
Author: Osamwonyi Obasogie
It was during the renaissance that science and art were fussed together for the first time, a fusion hitherto unimaginable of two distinct disciplines resulting in exceptional creativity on a scale never seen. Renaissance art works incorporated mathematical principles and scientific inventions in the following ways: firstly inventors who doubled as artist drew their scientific inventions, secondly other artists who did not want to practically indulge in mathematics and science only incorporated the scientific inventions into their drawings and drew such inventions to scale. The success of this fusion gave life to scientific ideas, laying emphatically a credible argument for the establishment of educational institutions whose curriculum espoused the belief that science and art can be inextricably linked in the tutelage of pupils and students at various arms from foundational to primary and secondary stages of education leading to creativity and innovation.
My teaching experience
I teach in one such school where art is greatly used as a learning tool. I teach science and my pupils are from ages 5 to 10 in elementary Grade one to six. Science is a practical subject of study, the scientific method (the way scientists carry out discoveries) has embedded in it aspects where art plays a critical role, for example, in most experiments art can be used as a valuable tool to illustrate the following: apparatuses used, the experimental procedure, experimental results/observation. Also, the principle upon which a scientific process is hinged can be easily communicated using art.
Art as used in elementary science Biology
In teaching my pupils response to stimuli (irritability) by plants from say sunlight commonly referred to as phototropism, my pupils can draw the apparatuses needed to carry out the process namely: a plant and the vase/container in which it grows, a light source say a lamp, and show in an art representation the expected result which is hinged on the principle that the plant would grow towards the light. The experimental process which would hugely depend on observation would also involve my pupils drawing their observations on days when visible changes are recorded. The variation in the experiment would see the movement of the light source to different directions with plants growing to the new direction from which the light source now reaches the plant. Without doubt this scientific principle of phototropism which would have baffled the minds of pupils/students if only explained can now be clearly understood through the drawings made from this experiment. Same thing can be done for conditions necessary for plant growth and the various stages of development of a seed from planting to germination, also a food chain showing how organisms feed can be artistically represented. This is only in biology which studies living and non-living things.
Art as used in elementary science Chemistry
Teaching Chemistry which is the study of matter can be enriched with the use of art. The distinguishing of acids and base via the colour changes they produce on litmus paper – the acid producing red on blue litmus paper and the base turning red litmus paper blue are some of the most fascinating experiments observed physically in chemistry which can be drawn by a pupil. A pictorial representation makes the topic taught to be comprehended better and clearly understood. Same thing can be done when you teach on permanent change e.g. rusting of iron, the reddish brown colouration of a rusted metal creates a better mental image when drawn and coloured rather than mere explanation. The tutelage of separation techniques which is a temporary change process is better clearly elucidated using artistic drawings after the observation of the real life process. Pupils/students drawing a distillation column, filteration set-up, a precipitation set-up, and evaporation process are invaluable to the comprehension of the transferred knowledge
Art as used in elementary science Physics
Physics which is the last component of science is by all means a beneficiary of the usefulness of art, ‘magnets and magnetism’ becomes a fun topic which excites the pupils when taught using drawing of the types of magnets and the imaginary fields surrounding such magnets. Light and sources of light is also a concept when taught with the use of art can help show how rays and beams of light travel rectilinearly (i.e. in a straight line), also how shadows are created can be drawn. In teaching planetary bodies in the solar system, by simply drawing these planetary bodies, their observatory instruments such as telescope would make the topic exciting. The diagrammatic representation of the concepts of earth rotation and revolution and not leaving out how eclipses (solar and lunar eclipse) are formed can make the class lively.
Art as used in elementary science Geography
In geography, which occupies a little part of the science curriculum in elementary school, pupils can immensely understand taught concepts when they are approached from an art point of view. Teaching types of: erosion, soil, rocks and soil profile are a delight when shown during lessons artistically.
Art as used in elementary Science, Technology and engineering project design
In all my projects carried out with my pupils/students, I have always chosen topics hinged on innovation and creativity but art remains a vehicle that helps my pupils understand the project before we commence, this I achieve by drawing out the end result. When my project was on recycling in 2014 I turned synthetic rope once used for hanging clothes into a door foot mat, my pupils drew the equipment which we constructed ourselves used for weaving the mat. Another aspect of art is photography they took pictures and recorded videos of the process to create an audio-visual experience never to be forgotten easily. The principle here is recycling which is scientific, the equipment for weaving is technology and this product which is the foot mat is art the entire process of producing the mat is engineering. These processes were documented using the art form of photography. Same was done also for another project in 2015 – a lamp made out of reused metal, plastic and textile it was a fantastic product of art again incorporating science, technology and engineering. This same year (2015) I have just constructed an aquarium using recycled glass while the aquarium filter was made from plastic with Silica sand in it to create a fluidized-bed, my pupils and I drew the design. My pupils are getting the best of science because of the premium the curriculum I work with places on the use of art as the viable vehicle to demystify the complex world of scientific principles, adopted technology and engineering processes.
The Lesson Plan and Class Room design
The lesson plan for class tutelage is well written with clear diagrammatic illustration for each topic taught for example for a lesson on Safety on the road: a pedestrian bridge, a zebra crossing on a road fitted with traffic lights drawn in my plan would be the minimum standard accepted before I can get my plan approved to teach that topic. Again the class room each term is designed according to the theme of the project for the term under review, pupils resume each term to the ambience of a new look class-room.
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