1st Grade's Immersive Presentation on Animal Biomes

by Michael Porter
The first grade exhibited a dazzling display of art and science in February with their show, Animal Biomes: A Light and Shadow Experience. The Kelly Fine Arts Center auditorium was transformed into a museum with the creations of the young science students centerstage.
The construction of the project took place during the students' recent Deep Dive week, where they had a larger block of time each day to concentrate on larger goals. The Light and Shadow Experience is a culmination of several different learning opportunities the students have had this year.

"We wanted to tie this into their science lab curriculum on light," said Technology Specialist Cristina Knodel. "Students learned about opaque, transparent, and translucent objects and how light interacts with each. We learned that to make shadows, we need to use opaque objects."
Inspired by the recent immersive Van Gogh exhibition in Jacksonville, Ms. Knodel wanted something bigger than the small light boxes the students have created in recent years, so she challenged the students to make larger-than-life displays.
Students in first grade also had the opportunity to use the Makerspace for these projects. They enhanced skills such as cutting, gluing, tracing, and working as a team. They also practiced the virtue of perseverance, since they found they needed to cut out their animals many times.
"In the end, they saw how their design was significantly better than their prototype," said Ms. Knodel. "When students saw their final animal compared to their first, they couldn't believe how much better it was after trying time and time again."

Parents and students had the opportunity to tour the exhibit last Friday. Some students were lucky enough to visit with their buddies!
The collaboration between Ms. Knodel, Science Specialist Deb Landon, Director of Operations and Facilities Jennifer Highsmith to help with logistics, and Director of Auxiliary Services Nathan Renstrom to build the PVC frames, made it possible to assemble the displays in the auditorium. Fine Arts Coordinator Lindsay Curry added the finishing touches of moving lights and stirring music to make the pieces breath-taking.