Combining art and science with giving is one unique way for middle schoolers to learn subject material and conduct research on how giving affects the brain. Eighth-graders at Whitehorse Middle School made glass sun catchers, which will be sold at Absolutely Art to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. They have been studying the influence of giving on the brain and stress levels.
“At first, I just thought what makes you happy is receiving something … just normally, what a lot of other people would think,” said eighth-grader Han Ying Jiang, 13. “(Giving something) is a win-win on both sides.”
Art class and science class collaboration
Whitehorse art teacher Andrew Erickson and science teacher Tuyet Cullen are working together on the project, and the students voted on who would benefit from the sale of the sun catchers. An opening reception will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 4, and the sun catchers will remain on sale at least through the end of April.
The teachers received a $570 grant from Madison Soup to purchase the materials and tools for the project. The amount allowed the students to also make a pendant, which they get to keep, and provided some seed money so this could be the start of an ongoing project.
In art class, the students are learning about the history of glass, color theory, and glass fusing techniques. The project also will give them exposure to presenting in a gallery, Erickson said.
In science class, the students just finished conducting research by trying to mimic an experiment by a University of California professor. Students filled out a questionnaire about their current state regarding energy and creativity levels, optimism and sense of control about accomplishing goals. Then some students were assigned to perform acts of kindness while others did not as the control group. The students then filled out the questionnaire again later in the day to see if there was any difference.
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