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Lesson Plans


[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
KIM M. ERICKSON (74461.2153)
Wed, 10 Dec 1997 23:56:58 -0500

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Here are my responses to the four inquiry questions:

Question #1: How can we involve kids in the art of their community that
has a tie to the environment? First of all, as teachers we must research
the kinds of ecological art in our community. Then, it is important for
the children to "see" the art because they tend to be visual learners. If
the artist is local, then it might be possible to arrange a classroom
presentation where the children can ask them questions about the art and
how it ties to the environment. It would be important for the teacher to
give a lesson prior to the field trip or lecture to educate the children on
ecological art and its function. Then it would be fun for the children to
create a art project of their own that is linked to their environment. I
was doing classroom observation at an elementary school where there was a
main courtyard where there had been plants at one time, but had not been
attended to in quite some time. Each classroom was assigned an area where
they could plant native trees/plants or design an ecological art piece.
This creates a sense of ownership for the children and also enhances the

Question # 2: How do artists identify and act of resolve local and global
ecological issues through their artwork? Joseph Beuys (1982-87) began a
social restoration project called "7000 Oaks" in Kassel, Germany during the
Documenta 7, an international art exhibition. Beuys wanted to make an
impact on the environment to counteract the effects of deforestation due to
urban expansion so he chose to plant 7000 oak trees (with a few others
mixed in) in Kassel with each planting a 4' basalt stone was placed nest to
it to signify the historical beginning of a social restoration. He
challenged the rest of the world to follow in his footsteps and begin
giving back to the environment what we have taken away! Beuys died in 1986
before he saw the completion of his project, but he certainly was a
catalyst for others to help resolve a global ecological issue.

Question #3: How can technology be used to conduct inquiry about art and
There are many resources available for teachers and students to gain
information about art and ecology. As teachers, it is important to teach
children how to seek out answers to their questions through the use of
technology. We are fortunate today because the Internet can link us to
information from anywhere in the world. We are also able to email many
artists through the Internet where we can get personal information about
art and ecology. There are links to environmental groups through the World
Wide Web where you can research their efforts and usually ask questions.
Many libraries are connected to the Internet so that books and journal
articles can be found on a particular ecological issue or artist. The
resources are endless because of our advanced technology!

Question #4: What ecological issues are important to your community?
I live in Tucson, Arizona where there is an on going issue of water. There
has been an ever-growing population which creates a concern about having an
adequate water supply. Our water is taken presently from two underground
wells which has been causing a drop in the water table level over the past
20 years which can cause other ecological problems.

On the ballot this November was Proposition 201, the Water Quality Standard
which, if passed, would repeal the law passed by voters in 1995 requiring
the city to
recharge most of its Central Arizona Project (CAP) water allocation. This
act prohibited the city from delivering CAP water to customers unless it
had been treated to match the quality of ground water the city pumped from
its Avra Valley well, which provides the city's highest, quality water
supply. CAP water is know to have more contaminants in it because it is an
above ground water source - the Colorado River - which has more salts,
other dissolved solids and plant and animal residue. Because of these
additional contaminants, it will take more/different chemicals to purify
the water. This will require an additional treatment plant. Other
problems occurred with prior use of CAP water was that it traveled through
corroded water main pipes carrying brown gunk from the pipes into the

If I was looking at this problem from a scientific perspective, I would
want to repeal the
law because it forces the city and other users to continue pumping ground
depleting the aquifer, destroying desert vegetation and promoting land
Though, it seems that a treatment plant for CAP water, to processes it to
the drinkable
standard, will cost an excessive amount of money. But, there already has
been work
done on replacing the old water main pipes and CAP water can be added to
ground water to help maintain the aquifer level.

Unfortunately, Proposition 201 was defeated in November. Now our city
must look for alternative ways to either increase the water supply or
decrease the usage!

Kim Erickson
University of Arizona

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