Each day seems to bring news stories where a religious group disavows science or a scientist attacks religion.
What is one to think? Which is right?
Of course, this is not a new phenomenon as revealed in Kendall College of Art and Design professor Jay Constantine work “Anti-Icons.”
These visually striking paintings are laden with symbolism and images of unorthodox and heretical thinkers of their historical era.
I would encourage you to check out these images if you are looking for a brief pause in your day to contemplate this perennial conflict and to simply appreciate the beauty of this work and to celebrate a great artist inviting us to look, to remember, and to imagine.
Educators could use these works in their art, world history or English classes, showing one of the works and asking students to reflect or write on them, or to use as a source for a class discussion.
To view Jay Constantine’s “Anti-Icons” please click on this link to the Kendall College of Art and Design website.
One of the many challenges educators face daily is how to communicate ideas to learners with a wide range of background knowledge, learning style, interest/motivation and aptitude.
How many of us have told fascinating stories, presented compelling information, or sketched out ideas on the board-only to have a certain segment of the class stare at us blankly?
I think this is especially true in an area like science, where the real world connections are a bit harder for students, especially younger secondary students to make.
So, for an appreciation of the true challenge and artistry necessary to make compelling visual representations of scientific concepts, you may want to read the MIT News article about Felice Frankel’s work.
Felice is an award winning, MIT research scientist and photographer has spent decades perfecting this craft and has created free tutorials in MIT’s Open Courseware.
I think any secondary science teacher would enjoy reading about her process and may enjoy using principles from the course to enhance their own pedagogy. It’s also a reminder for all of us non-science teachers to think about how we are communicating our lessons and to examine whether we might benefit from a creative re-examination-possibly utilizing some of Felice Frankel’s work as inspiration. I also think students may benefit from reading about her career as it is a blend of the artistic and the analytical and utilizes the best of each to help individuals develop a deeper understanding of their world.
Questions for Discussion
How often do you use visual representations to enhance your lessons?
Why does Felice Frankel encourage researchers to develop “metaphors” to help explain their work?
Is there a concept that you think your students would benefit from seeing a visual image?
What are some creative methods you have used to help “illustrate” a concept?
What is Felice Frankel’s background-how might this have impacted her work?
Every day in the classroom, it feels like the challenge to inspire and motivate our students to think critically and creatively is just getting harder.
Using the “little gray cells” as Hercule Poirot does is more difficult than ever with the numerous distractions confronting our students.
I was pleased to come across this charming video shared by Reggie Kumar from UCLA.
It features scientific researchers talking about the mysterious source of inspiration being akin to how an artist might create. Not simply starting from a preconceived notion, but using imagination and visualization to understand a problem or process. I also really loved how the researchers spoke of the essential need to have solid fundamental skills to make great art and science. So often, we see students have the tendency to jump right to the “cool” stuff without having a firm grasp of the foundational knowledge or skills.
With compelling graphics and a great “chill” soundtrack, this video might provoke a few good conversations. It’ll at least provide a bit of inspiration for you to get back in there tomorrow and do the good work of inspiring the generation of “dreamers, makers, learners and doers!”