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Lesson Plans

Four inquiry questions on Art and Ecology

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Anna L Velasco (alv)
Wed, 3 Dec 1997 09:51:00 -0700 (MST)

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1. How can we involve kids in the art of their community that has a tie to
the environment? I think that there are many resources at the disposal of
teachers. Here at the University of Arizona there are many displays of
Environmentally conscious art. In fact, the U of A has a borrowed display
of Robert Wick who is an environmental artist for an entire year on
campus. Field trips and outings are appropriate and necessary to teach
children. Also, artwork can be brought into the classroom through posters
and reproductions. Another way to involve children could be to design an
art unit in which you study an environmental issue and then have the
students themselves produce works of art useing the concepts and
techniques mentioned in the unit. For example, you could teach a unit on
recycling and then have the students produce art from recycled materials.

2. What ecological issues are important in your community?
Tucson, Arizona is a very dry place. Water, and the lack thereof, is a
big issue for us Tucsonians. We have a very controversial solution to the
water problem; we have been working with for the last few years called
CAP. It's an anacranim (I don't remember it) but basicly it is chemically
recycled and purified waste water which they are trying to make safe for
drinking. When it first came out to caused all kinds of problems with the
plumbing in our houses. People are still trying to come up with ways to
combat the water problem especially because they are afraid.... Tucson is

3. How does the process of contemporary ecological art making differ from
the process of traditional studio art? One major way I think that
ecological art differs from traditional art is that they are very aware of
the materials used in their artworks. I think it would be possible that
the types of media like certain paints etc...would not be environmentally
friendly and that an ecological artist might be more worried about waste
than the traditional artist.

4. How can we help make one time visits or brief art experiences relevant
in some kind of on going way for students?
It is my personal opinion that students will not make a long lasting
connection to the art and their environment unless they are continually
refering back to their experiences through their assignments. I think
that the teacher needs to incorporate the desired concepts throughout
several of their lesson plans in order to get the ideas across. For
example, if the unit is on recycling I think the teacher should make a
field trip to a recycled art display one week, then have a recycled art
activity in which the students produce their own art out of recycled
materials, then something else throughout the year. Etc... Also, I think
the teacher should apply the concepts in the classroom. For example I
think the teacher should make the students aware of how much they waste...
Like having them write down what they throw away during the day and then
talking about it to increase awareness and recycling....

Thanks, Larisa

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