Students in art teacher Charis Taylor’s fifth-grade classroom not only got to learn two-point perspective but also were able to draw the tree house of their dreams in the process. “One of the reasons I teach the two-point perspective lesson is, not only to hit the element of art-space, but also to have students use math skills and a ruler to draw the actual tree house,” Taylor said. “We do this two times to make sure that we all get the steps and concepts correct. It also gives them a chance to look at something from a different point of view and then draw it.” From there, the students were able to use their imaginations and choose a theme for their tree house. They were able to use iPads to explore their theme a bit more to help with visuals to add to their tree house. A couple of the more interesting tree house themes were The Wizard of Oz and Pokémon. To finish their works of art, students had their choice of a multitude of media including, pencils, sharpies, colored pencils and paint. “I love art class because it’s so much fun,” said student Victoria Beck. “You can always be as creative as you want to be.” Students in Taylor’s classroom recently completed a project painting Winter Birch Trees, and later this semester will work with string art and clay.
This month at Cibolo Green, over 200 adults and students will tour the LEAD DoSeum, a hands-on museum created and run by the 5th grade G/T students from Cibolo Green and Roan Forest. Back in October, Mrs. Donna Lasher proposed this project to her 5th grade G/T class. “After visiting the San Antonio DoSeum and the Hill Country Science Mill in Johnson City, I was inspired to involve my students in planning a space that would encourage hands-on learning. I was a little nervous about letting the students take the lead in planning and designing the museum, but it certainly integrated many thinking strategies and research skills, and also exposed students to new technology tools.”
The plan was to transform an empty classroom into a school DoSeum. However, when the students listed all of their ideas for such a space, it became obvious that more room would be needed. With the principal’s permission, the students ultimately transformed three classrooms into three unique areas for learning: Seeker Space, Puzzle Parlor, and Tech Town. The LEAD DoSeum was opened for the first time on May 12th when forty-four fourth graders and several adults visited, and the 5th graders served as docents. All nine 4th grade classes have been invited to tour through the museum.
In Seeker Space, visitors are invited to complete crossword-puzzle scavenger hunts as they read the displays created by Mrs. Lasher’s students. Visitors will find answers to questions such as “How Will Inventions of the Future Impact our Lives?” “What Happens When We Dream?” “How Does Music Affect Us?” and “What’s Beyond our Solar System?” Mrs. Lasher explains, “The students did extensive research on their topics, and the most difficult part for them was honing in on the big ideas and presenting them on the display so that the viewer would get a lot of information with just a little bit of reading. Knowing that visitors would not have much time to linger at each display, the students were challenged in way that they had not been before in presenting research.”
Puzzle Parlor is a second area of the DoSeum where visitors may try to solve a variety of puzzles including Colorku (a color-version of Sudoku), Squzzles, Kanoodle, and Chocolate Fix. There are also poster-sized logic puzzles, created by the students, and mounted on the wall. To solve these, dry erase markers are provided. At each puzzle station, 5th grade docents stand eager to explain how the puzzles work and help to get anyone started in solving them. “I never would have thought of including puzzles as part of this project,” Mrs. Lasher confessed, ”but the fourth grade visitors are loving it, and I read that the San Antonio DoSeum recently opened a puzzle bar, so I guess my students are on the cutting edge of museum planning!”
The third area of the DoSeum is Tech Town, a place to try out some new kinds of hands-on kits. Little Bits, featured in one area, are magnetic pieces that snap together to create circuits. Visitors can sit for a few minutes and make an alarm or a light meter simply by snapping together the bits. In another area, students put together Cubelets to build robots that perform different functions. And at a third station, visitors can test their understanding of force and motion as they play “Newton,” a game on the OSMO for iPad gaming system.
The G/T class is grateful to Cibolo Green principal, Mr. Adam Schwab, and to several parents, for their help in purchasing many of the technology kits presented in this room. These will become part of a permanent hands-on learning space for the school. In G/T, students learn CoRT Thinking strategies, and these were applied a great deal in the planning of the museum. The students were involved in every part of the planning; they helped to decide what would go into the museum, they created their displays, decorated the space, and even came up with the name and created the logo. The logo was a modification of the San Antonio DoSeum logo, so Mrs. Lasher requested permission to use it, which was enthusiastically granted. The S.A. DoSeum was very encouraging and supportive, according to Mrs. Lasher. If you are interested in learning more about the evolution of the project, Mrs. Lasher has a blog on the NEISD website.