Friday, February 3, 2017

Physics and Art, a perfect intersection?

                Back in my second professional semester I ran into a problem. Each of the students would have to pair off classmates of the same major for a specific project, the only problem is there is not another physics education major at SDSU. It was a pretty interesting situation, I don’t think I would have changed it for the world, but it did make the class projects a little strange. One experience that I love talking about is when I had to team up with Noelle and Lindsey, an art major and a math major, to complete a unit planning project. At first it seemed like an odd combination, but I think it turned into a pretty good lesson and unit. I’m remembering this story now because it was brought to the forefront of my memory after I attended a session on the same topic at the SDCTM and SDSTA conference.

                The session that I attended was entitled “Science Inspiring Art – Art Empowering Science!”, and it really matched up with that unit I planned with Noelle and Lindsey. The basis of the session was that a teacher could easily use astronomy to teach art and math, and at the same time teach art and math through physics. I think in a school it would be a really great interdisciplinary unit between a science teacher and an art teacher. The “lesson” started out with a bunch of terrestrial pictures and non-terrestrial pictures and having students put sticky notes with different terms. These terms could range between science and art, some from science being crater, false color and tectonic, and some art ones being color, shape and value. From there students would look at a “planet” and list its characteristics, from there they would create their own mystery planets. I really quite liked the lesson because it seemed like a better version of what Noelle, Lindsey and I thought up.

                I think the most amazing thing is that unless I was put in that situation in my second professional semester, or if I had not gone to SDCTM and SDSTA conference, it would have taken me many years to even think about and plan an interdisciplinary lesson like this. Looking back on my day at the conference, and the unit plan from a year ago, it seems like a very logical way to teach the material. Not all students will be able to catch onto the material just from a lecture or lab, and maybe the art project is what gets them to that next level in understanding physics. Or perhaps in the opposite direction it is what makes a student discover a love of art.

                I am quite glad that I have another day to look forward to at the SDCTM and SDSTA conference because I am learning quite a lot here. The spectacular thing is that there does not seem to be a session that I have gone to that does not apply in some way to my interest or future profession. There is something to be said about the quality of teachers and other programs like The Sanford Promise in South Dakota, and what an amazing support structure we have as possible future South Dakota teachers. 

Ben DeNeui - A Future Physics Teacher