Bulb Archived: Durkin 2018-2019: Birmingham and Qureshi (2018-2019 A/R Partners)

1. How did you and your teaching partner decide to do this project? (Please describe the context of your project, this can include influence from previous projects, context of your school, community, etc.):

Deborah and I wanted to continue our investigation of how to use art to visualize the abstract i.e. different forms and types of energy. Energy is a concept that runs through many areas of science but because it is abstract it’s sometimes difficult for students to grasp. We wanted to use copper tape to explore electronic circuits with this 4th grade class because we felt the materials would lend themselves to more exploration. In the past we used conductive thread to create electronic circuits, which is a little more expensive than copper tape and challenging for some younger students to work with. 

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creating a simple circuit with alligator clips 

2. Big Idea: Visualizing Energy

3. Inquiry:  How can combining the elements of art, scientific research, and basic electronics help students imagine what various forms of energy look like?

4. Grade Level: 4th

5. Academic Subject(s): Science and engineering

6. Artistic Discipline(s):  Drawing and design

7. How many years have you worked together as partners?:  4 years

8. Please describe what you did and what you made for this project: 

The project started with students working at various stations that allowed them to explore a different aspects of energy (from sound to emotional energy) either through attempting to visualize the abstract through color, line and shape, or attempting to create a circuit that lights up one or several LEDs.

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students kept notes at each station recording their observations 
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student drawing showing emotional energy
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students use copper tape to explore 
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 Oscar, a student in the class, was generally not very engaged in the project and had difficulty focusing. So it was particularly interesting to see his drawing. He wrote “this (is) me connecting the lights to the battery I am feeling happy”

It was very important to us that the students take an active learning approach with the materials. We provided initial prompts but then allowed for students to make discoveries (and mistakes) for themselves. Familiar materials such as brightly colored markers, colorful paper was placed alongside more unfamiliar materials such as copper tape, LEDs, coin cell battery, alligator clips and battery holder. The familiar materials provided at entry point for many of the students while giving them confidence to explore the new materials.

Students examined the way electricity works in everyday objects. They depicted their understanding of how different forms of energy move and transfer through everyday electrical appliances such as a toaster. 

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Students used the elements of art to visualize/imagine what different forms of energy could look like
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An example of a prompt at one of the stations 

9. How did you share your student’s learning process with your school faculty or community?

We organized a culminating event which was student led. I think we had around 10 or so family members that participated in the event. The adults rotated at 4 different stations and were learning from the 4th graders. Some of the topics covered by the 4th graders were how to create a simple circuit, what are conductors and insulators and how does magnetic energy work. 

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Avelinda’s grandma received one-to-one training in creating electric circuit.
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Meridian’s dad  exploring circuits
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Natalia excited to have her sister attempt to create an electronic  circuit
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Feedback from adults who attended the culminating event
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Parent comment

Teaching Artist Assessment:

How did you assess student arts learning?: (ex. Was it formative or summative? Was it a written, verbal or performative based assessment? Were students provided with teacher or peer feedback? Did you use a rubric or portfolio system? Etc.) 

We used several different forms of written and verbal assessments. We created an “I wonder” poster that was visible in the classroom. Students added to the poster with questions about ideas/concepts that they were curious about. Students also kept individual journals as well as a group journal. The journals included questions about how our unit was going or what they had enjoyed learning about  that day. Our collaboration ended with a culminating event which was student led. The preparation for the event allowed students to verbalize their learning and allowed Deborah and I to see how much the students had learned.

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I wonder poster 
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Emily shows our guest how an electronic circuit works using alligator clips and LEDs
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I wonder poster displayed in hallway to share with the school community 

What were the results of the assessment? What did students learn in your class/project? What did you learn from analyzing the student assessments that informs your Arts teaching practice?

The “I wonder” poster helped us to shape the curriculum around the students curiosity but also helped to identify the gaps in their learning. It helped Deborah and I to focus on the individual needs of the student. We realized some students needed clearer explanations about concepts or alternatively where some students were able to go deeper in their investigation of energy and needed more challenging content. 

We used the journal as formative assessment and again tailored the curriculum to the students needs and gaps in understanding. Students were asked to not only write about what they were learning but we encouraged them to draw their learning if they felt that was an easier way for them to express themselves. 

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student journal
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student journal

The culminating event helped the students to verbalize their understanding. It was wonderful to watch the students teach the adults what they had learned and help answer their questions. Not all students respond well to written assessments so this culminating event was a good way for Deborah and I to assess student learning from a different perspective. In future Deborah and I will make sure to video document the students talking about their work. 

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Student note card in preparation for culminating event
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Back of student note card

Illinois Arts Learning Standards Addressed:

VA:Cr1.1.4a. Brainstorm multiple approaches to a creative art or design problem. VA:Cr1.2.4 a. Collaboratively set goals and create artwork that is meaningful and has purpose to the makers.

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Oscar- pleased that he created a circuit
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Teacher Assessment:

How did you assess student academic content learning?: (ex. Was it formative or summative? Was it a written, verbal or performative based assessment? Were students provided with teacher or peer feedback? Did you use a rubric or portfolio system? Etc.)

We used several different forms of written and verbal assessments. We created an “I wonder” poster that was visible in the classroom. Students added to the poster with questions about ideas/concepts that they were curious about. Students also kept individual journals as well as a group journal. The journals included questions about how our unit was going or what they had enjoyed learning about that day. Our collaboration ended with a culminating event which was student led. The preparation for the event allowed students to verbalize their learning and allowed Deborah and I to see how much the students had learned.

What were the results of the assessment? What did students learn in your class/project? ‘The assessment results were great.  Though I was uncertain whether the students were focused and disciplined enough to participate in this year’s program, I was pleased with students collaboration and team building skills.  Students acquired knowledge and problem solving skills., i.e., Meridian couldn’t figure out why her circuit wouldn’t work.  Manny did not tell her why; he led her in reviewing steps needed.  Together, they discussed steps needed – leading Meridian to discover and correct problem. 

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Manny and Meridian as problem solvers
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Manny facilitates as Meridian discovers and corrects problem with circuit

Students used science vocabulary that also related to class science unit on energy.  The science and CAPE project vocabulary (stored energy, transfer energy, potential energy, thermal, and kinetic energy) were connected.  Students transferred Energy unit knowledge to the project.

Standards Addressed: (Common Core, Next Generation Science, SEL, Etc.): 

Disciplinary Core Ideas

PS3.A: Definitions of Energy

PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and EnergyTransfer

Science and Engineering Practices

Asking Questions and Defining Problems

Asking questions and defining problems in grades 3–5 builds on grades K–2 experiences and progresses to specifying qualitative relationships.

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Students engaged and thrilled to explore!