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Lesson Plans

Re: Art & Science & Integration

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Lynn Foltz (lfoltz)
Sat, 12 Oct 1996 00:23:57 -0400 (EDT)


In response to your post, I say: YES!! YES!! YES!!
I agree with almost everything you say - and you said it well - (aren't
we all becoming more "concise" in our expression).
However, at the end of your comments, I might have had a stronger
reaction to the forced integration - but that's okay.
Also - I have had the same experience regarding music-types in education
- believe it or not, even I have felt closer to science than the music eds.
enjoyed your comments!

Most Artfully,

On Fri, 11 Oct 1996, craig roland wrote:

> It's Friday night and I'm all dressed up with no where to go. So, I
> thought I'd feed the "flames" of the art & science/integration discussion
> going on the list.
> As an elementary art teacher (in my former life), my first introduction to
> the idea of curriculum integration came when a 3rd grade classroom teacher
> brought her students into my room one day and said "The kids are studying
> North American Indians in Social Studies, could you have them make tee-pees
> or something Indian?" I still remember standing there with my mouth open
> in a daze and trying to explain to this teacher that I already had a lesson
> planned for her students. But, that we could meet and perhaps plan
> something for later in the year or even next year. We did meet later and
> had an interesting exchange in which I shared with her my program goals.
> She said she had no idea that I actually had an "art" curriculum with
> subject matter and skills to teach. Her reaction still rings in my
> ears.....(please make it go away ;^) Well, to make this story short, we
> did find some common ground...and I did find ways to link my curriculum
> with what was happening in other classrooms in the school.
> One thing I learned during those years is that it was easy to find ways to
> link various curriculum areas...BUT,that sometimes these links are
> artificial and forced. When the links are "natural" and lend themselves to
> genuine cross-disciplinary study I think that integration WORKS. When they
> are not, I fear that student learning/understanding of the subject matter
> involved will be shallow (at best) and that misconceptions about the
> disciplines (and cultures) involved will be taught (and thus become facts
> in the students' minds).
> As an EXAMPLE of what I mean by "shallow understanding/misconceptions being
> taught," I've heard (but not seen) of classroom teachers who have kids make
> globes out of paper mache and then paint them showing all seven continents
> (there are still seven, right?) and who have kids color in maps of the US.
> While I'm not against these "visual learning" activities, I do have
> problems when they are said to be "art" lessons or activities. (Notice how
> I'm staying away from pumpkins here, Lynn ;^) As I've said many times in
> my elem. methods class for classroom teachers, "Just because kids are
> working with art materials, doesn't mean they're "doing art." (...Before
> someone attempts to legitimize these activities, let me say that I feel
> that "world making" and "map making" can be turned into exciting "art"
> lessons...but, these "project" ideas are usually not presented as such.)
> As an example of an area where natural links exist, the long historical
> relationship between artists and the environment (i.e., art and ecology)
> lends itself to a wealth of opportunities for curriculum integration and
> cross-disciplinary study. Also, if we include design (I'm thinking here of
> "design as creative problem-solving" although "design as elements and
> principles" also applies) within the realm of the art/school curriculum,
> there are lots of opportunities for kids to explore some of our world's
> problems and to come up with creative solutions that cross over
> disciplinary boundries.
> Kit's comment here rings a bell (there's that damm ringing again 8^) where
> she talked about education being about confronting, understanding and
> engaging the world in which we live. I would like to add its also about
> exploring, playing with, enjoying, and re-creating our world(s)--both inter
> and outer worlds. In this way, I agree that we need to view art, science
> (etc.,) as ways of studying (or inquiring about) ourselves and our
> world(s). I think it was Elbert Hubbard who said, "Art is not a thing: it
> is a way."
> There is lots more to say, but let me close with a more recent incident in
> my professional life where curricular integration has become an issue. Our
> College of Education is currently attempting to reorganize the elementary
> education curriculum. To keep this short, The administrators/faculty
> pushing for this "reform" presented us (in the College of Fine Arts) with a
> model in which the art methods and music methods classes would be combined
> and reduced from 7 hrs credit to 2 hrs credit. We have been trying to
> avoid this move (for a number of reasons...none of which involve "simply
> justifying our existence.") for over a year now. The interesting thing is
> that when they brought all the methods instructors together (art, music,
> pe, science, language arts, social studies, etc.,) for the first time to
> discuss this matter, I found I had more in common with the science, social
> studies and language arts instructors (in terms of curriculum content and
> goals) than I did with music. Go figure?
> My point here being (once again) where the links seem natural, my feeling
> is that integration is GOOD. Where the links are forced, integration is
> well, not so good.
> With that it's time to put my toys away and go to bed.
> Have a nice weekend. Go Gators!
> Craig
> _______________________________________________________________________
> CRAIG ROLAND. Associate Professor-Art Education.
> Department of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville Florida.
> 32611-5801. (352) 392-9165 - Art Ed Office (352) 392-8453 - Fax
> visit my homepage ( and
> @rt room (