SchoolArts Magazine

AUG-SEP 2013

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Looking & Learning Investigating Explore Create Beginner Start by showing students images of Ursula von Rydingsvard's sculptures. Ask them to describe what they are looking at and what they think they might be made out of. After determining that the sculptures are made from wood, ask, "How is this artist investigating wood? Do her sculptures make you think of anything from real life? What do you think it feels like to carve and sculpt wood? What materials would you like to investigate?" Beginner Show students a table or countertop in your classroom covered with a wide variety of materials such as stones, marbles, sticks, scraps of fabric, plastic, clay, foam, paper, and cardboard. Explain that they will each conduct a material investigation using two or more materials. You may wish to adjust the amount of materials based on time constraints and availability. Have each student fill out an investigation form for each of the materials (downloadable at Have them ask the following questions for each material: • Whatdoesthematerialfeellike?Isithard,soft,smooth,rough? • Whatcanyoudowithit?Canyoubend,fold,tear,orsmooshit? • Whatkindofprojectswouldthismaterialworkbestwith?Sculpting a model, making a house, making an animal? When the investigations are complete, have each student present his or her findings to the class and compare and contrast his or her chosen materials. Consider videotaping each presentation and sharing it online. Intermediate Tell students that you will be examining the many ways that artists investigate something— an idea, a subject, a material, or a process. Next, show them Utagawa Sadahide's A Hollander and ask, "What do you think Sadahide was investigating when he created this artwork? Why might Japanese people have been so curious about people from Europe during the 1800s?" Repeat the process with von Rydingsvard's Luba and ask, "What do you think von Rydingsvard was investigating when she created this sculpture? Why do you think she has chosen to work mostly with wood? What is unique about working with wood? How is it different from other sculptural materials, such as clay or metal?" Advanced Show students A Hollander, Luba, and other artworks of your choosing. In small groups, have students carefully examine each image and create a list of what it might mean to investigate something through art. Next, ask the entire class to create a collaborative "investigation list" on a whiteboard or large sheet of paper. They should include specific things that artists might investigate. Encourage them to be as creative and open-minded as possible with their choices. When the list is complete, discuss the implications of the items. You might ask, for example, "How could you investigate time with an artwork?" or "How might an artist investigate acrylic paint?" resources Ursula von Rydingsvard Art21 Exclusive Videos: 28 August/September 2013 SchoolArts Intermediate Ask students to create a list of three to five things they would like to investigate through art. They should include at least one material, one idea, and one subject. Remind them to consider materials that are available in the artroom or that can be easily obtained. Ask them to sketch out or write down ideas of how they will conduct their investigation for each of the items on their list. Next, help students narrow down their list to a single choice. You may also wish to make this a longer unit that includes two or more investigations, one of an idea or subject, and one of a material or process. Before students begin their investigations, divide the classroom into stations or areas of investigation. This helps make it easier to manage students working on a variety of different projects without restricting their freedom to investigate. Advanced Draw names to randomly select students. When selected, have each student choose one of the items from the previously created investigation list, cross it off, and write their first names next to their choice. Before starting, make sure there are more choices than students so that everyone will be excited about their investigation. As each student will be working independently, the board will be a great source of information, as well as an interesting artifact of the artistic process. Schedule a debriefing meeting every two or three days during the course of the project for students to share their findings and progress with the class. Each student should give a brief statement and show what he or she has created so far. During the briefing, encourage other students to ask questions about each other's investigations. Consider having each student create a blog that records his or her progress each day, including photos or videos of completed work. At the end of the project, have students present their investigations, including photos and video of their process. Consider inviting parents, community members, and other students to the presentations. Written by Karl Cole, curator of images at Davis Publications; and Robb Sandagata, digital and interactive media coordinator at Davis Publications.

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