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but I was pleasantly surprised at how in tune they were once I offered suggestions. Their issues mostly concerned their life at school, includ- ing the need for better playgrounds, providing a mudless pick-up area for parents, and healthier food options for students. Imagine the Solution Students were given time to plan how they would create solutions to these issues. For the construction of this project, I gave them art straws, which are 24" (61 cm) paper straws that can be connected, cut, bent, and twisted. I showed students how the straws could be used, but added that I wanted them to discover new ways of build- ing. Before construction, we discussed the differences between 2D and 3D. We also illustrated the dimensions to help students better understand them. For 2D, we demonstrated height by standing on the tips of our toes and reaching up with our hands, then width by extending our arms and legs out as far as possible. For 3D, we took a step back and stretched out our arms. This was helpful, as it can be difficult for kindergartners to think beyond 2D. In fact, the majority of students made their sculptures flat on paper until I reminded them about depth; walls, slides, and trees were soon added. Create and Improve Students gathered their supplies and hurried to work. I walked the room, providing encouragement and ask- ing them how their models could be improved. Many students offered new ways to connect the straws, while others asked to use markers for color. Halfway through the period, I asked students to stop and walk around the room to look at the ideas their peers had developed. When they returned to their seats, I asked if anything stood out and we asked each student about their technique. It was surprising how this quick three-minute walk inspired new ideas and improvements to students' cre- ations. In the end, it was difficult for them to stop working because they were so engaged. This lesson was cer- tainly the beginning to the creation of future engineers. Tracey Hunter-Doniger is an assistant pro- fessor at the College of Charleston, South Carolina. hunterdonigertl@ cofc.edu N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Connecting: Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and exter- nal context. W E B L I N K www.pinterest.com/explore/straw-art/ 48 DECEMBER 2016 SchoolArts CONTINUED FROM PAGE 38. SchoolArts is looking for you to share lessons about contemporary approaches to art education! SchoolArts is looking for articles that feature contemporary artists and examples of contemporary approaches to art education. If you are using contemporary artists in your K–12 classroom and experimenting with exciting new ideas or approaches, we'd love to share your work with our readers. You can find our writer's guidelines at SchoolArts.com/writersguidelines.