Thursday, December 20, 2012

Human Map

Social Studies 6

Social Studies 6 Teachers Michael and Kat Stein-Ross combined their classes and used movement to build "human maps" of the region surrounding Ancient Egypt and the Kingdom of Kush. Students played the roles of the geographical features that influenced human settlement (Mediterranean Sea, Nile River, various Deserts, Lebanon Mountains) as well as the roles of settlers who were choosing a spot to build their community. The geographical features had to act out certain attributes: the Deserts whispered "hot and dry, hot and dry" and the Nile students showed the flow of the river by moving their arms from South to North. Here is a snippet of the activity they caught on video:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Art Through a Microscope

Science 6

As part of their Cell Biology unit, sixth-grade students work with the microscope to study cells and microscopic organisms. Science Teachers Adam Fox, Abram Cosby, and I developed and taught a short lesson sequence that would teach the students observational drawing skills (which aids their ability to observe and record what they see in the microscope), and also help them to see that the relationship between art and science is a two-way street. Art does not only serve a functional purpose in the scientific process. The observations and understandings derived from the scientific process in turn become inspiration for artists and their work.

The slideshow below gives you a guided tour through the lesson sequence and examples of student work.

Creating Infographics: What is History?

Social Studies 8

Michael Stein-Ross, our Social Studies 8 Teacher, came to me with the idea of having his students create infographics. He was having them devise their own definition of history, and wanted them to be able to give visual form to these ideas. Infographics have become a natural outgrowth of both the information revolution and the increasingly visual nature of our ever-expanding media universe. They vary in quality and eloquence, but the act of creating one provided a nice vehicle for exploring how to communicate an idea or message visually.

 Below is a slideshow that walks you through our lesson sequence, and here are a couple of great resources we found along the way:

"Teaching with Infographics: Places to Start" from the New York Times Learning Network

"A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods" from