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Thanks, Britt, for your response. That’s a really good question.

“Speed Drawing with Toys” is strictly observational… and under some duress. In that sense, it’s an exercise designed to get participants out of their heads and silence the “inner critic”. Mainly a warm-up observation exercise.

The 2nd and 3rd posted activities (”Descriptionary", and "Reverse Pictionary") are exercises in observation, cognition, and critical thinking. They use verbal and visual challenges to inspire more accurate “seeing” and improved word skills through note taking.

The 4th activity, “Leaf Comparison”, however, is more specific to the life sciences. So in that activity description, we do list in the introduction several applicable “Crosscutting Concepts” from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for science teachers and some “Techniques & Applications” from the Visual Arts Standards of Learning (VASL) for art educators. And there’s no reason why these two groups can’t partner. Both groups of standards teach valuable lessons in observation and critical thinking and would benefit all students..

Our first contributed activity, #5, “A Lemon of a Lesson”, is also an exercise that requires careful, accurate observation to be able to complete the activity successfully. This one was submitted by an Associate Professor of Science Education in the Department of Teacher Education & Learning Sciences. You’ll note that here, too, his lesson is strictly one of observation and accuracy...

… and accuracy is the undercurrent for all of our exercises.

So in these first few observation challenges, the NGSS and the VASL are not always addressed directly. While it’s important to make sure teaching tools dovetail nicely with the teaching standards, it’s also a balancing act: activities must be engaging for the students as well as useful tools for the teacher. 

We were approached in the past few days by other interested contributors that would also directly address teaching standards. We’re always open to more ideas! 

- Sally

On Jan 18, 2021, at 1:00 AM, SCIART-L automatic digest system <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

There is 1 message totaling 258 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

 1. Integrating Art & Science: A new website

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Date:    Sun, 17 Jan 2021 11:23:50 -0500
From:    Britt Griswold <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Integrating Art & Science: A new website

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Congratulations on making a concrete step in this long running discussion of K-12 tools based around science and drawing!  I know there is a big concern for teachers that the materials they use are acceptable and identifiable with specific items in the National Curriculum Standards. Is that an area you intend to address with these lessons?


Dear Fellow GNSI Members,

I have just pushed out a new website this week. I’m very excited about this. The project is called The Leonardo Principle. Its site is a STEM-to-STEAM teacher resource of free, downloadable PDFs describing step-by-step exercises in observation training. I am hoping that this site will become a go-to resource where teachers can find useful activities to get their students interested in science through art, not for art’s sake, but perhaps as a vehicle for discovery and critical thinking.

The activities I have up there now (some disguised as games) are intended to help K-12 teachers teach science using observational drawing and also incorporating the use of note-taking and verbal skills. The exercises are fun and challenging and have been tested on a number of “subjects” already, with success.

Here’s the site:

I’d really appreciate it if you would take a look. There are 5 activities up there now on the page under “Downloads." We just had our first “Contributor” yesterday, who gave us permission to list one of his observation activities, one of my favorites, “A Lemon of a Lesson.”

And here’s another thing: I can’t think of a more perfect group than the Guild, whose members would have additional ideas for activities that promote the integration of art and science. Some of you out there are teachers. Perhaps you have tried other ideas for activities that improve observation skill. Would you be willing to share?

Please consider joining our project as a contributor. I would really love to include you. While I can’t offer payment, I would list your name on our “Contributors” section, including any affiliations, websites, and contact information. And, of course, your name would also appear on the activity document as its author. I will also be sending out a call to other professional groups, so you’ll be in excellent company.

What do you think?

OK, that was long-winded enough. Thanks for your patience, if you made it this far. I’d really be interested in your feedback.

Be well,

- Sally


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