SchoolArts Magazine

AUG-SEP 2008

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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attempts to make a curved thermometer were especially problematic. World War II halted the development program but helped provide technical solutions. The round itself developed over a period of thirteen years and underwent several incarnations before its final form came to market. Radically different from its contemporaries, the round was circular and not square, which made it easier to mount on the wall, and it could be painted to match the room in which it was situated. This distinctive shape, its ability to be customized, its readability, ease of use and its affordability (retailing at $12.80, plus installation), coupled with a strong marketing plan, virtually guaranteed its entry into millions of American homes. Its longevity and success lies in its ease of use, aesthetic appeal and affordability, clarity in form and function, and concern for end-use—all qualities that helped make Honeywell a leader in the field of controls, both for domestic and industrial environments. Classroom activities Elementary Choose a student's chair in your classroom. Discuss how the form of a chair meant for a student may be different from a chair meant for an adult. How are chairs in a classroom different from chairs at a dentist's office? In someone's living room? In a bus? What purpose does a student's classroom chair serve? Could changes be made to the chair to better serve its purpose? Taking into account everything discussed, have each student redesign a chair using the principles important in Henry Dreyfuss's designs: ease of use, aesthetic appeal, clarity in form and function, and concern for enduse. Encourage students to brainstorm how the function of the chair may change the form. Discussion Questions With the invention of the T86 Round, Henry Dreyfuss made a leap from the previous design of thermostats. What changes in technology, resources, and necessity allowed this transformation to happen? Consider the designs represented in the gallery cards: the chimneypiece designed by Pietro Camporese the Younger and the radiator designed by René Coulon. All three designs serve the same function of providing heat. Think about how each design is an advancement from the previous. Do you see each as an improvement on the designs from an earlier time period? Other more recent leaps in design may be: • The design of vinyl records leading to MP3s • The chalkboard versus the whiteboard • The pay phone versus the cell phone Do you see designs in your surroundings that have shown an improvement on a previous design? Why or why not? Middle Using the form and function of the T86 Round as an example, hold a class discussion about form and function (e.g., the circular form of the thermostat makes it easier to hang straight on a wall and helped the thermostat to stand out from competitors, etc.). How does the form and the shape of the thermostat influence the use of the object and its success? Have students identify three objects in the school that successfully unite form and function and discuss why. Have students identify three unsuccessfully designed objects in the school and articulate how the form of the object could be changed to better suit the function. Students should use Dreyfuss as an inspiration when brainstorming changes that could make a design more functional. Knowing these three examples of leaps in design, as well as the work of Henry Dreyfuss, you take the leap! What leaps in design do you think could be made on the school bus, a locker, a backpack, etc.? Remember to consider Dreyfuss's principles of ease of use, aesthetic appeal, clarity in form and function, and concern for end-use. By Michelle Labrague, Barbara Pierce Bush, and Kim Robledo-Diga. Labrague is an education fellow at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum; Bush is education programs assistant at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Musem; and Robledo-Diga is school programs manager at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. SchoolArts is greatly indebted to the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum for providing the images and text for Looking and Learning this year. High School The T86 Round was a monumental design in the development of heating devices and thermostats. Have students research examples of common thermostats being used today. Like Dreyfuss, students should brainstorm innovative changes they could make to the thermostats. They should take into account today's technology and materials. How would students build off of Dreyfuss's designs to make them more appropriate for the twenty-first century? SchoolArts August / September 2008

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