Thursday, February 21, 2013

Unit 2: Chapter 7

Describe a constructivist lesson you would teach. If you think about some activities that would help students with what Ormrod identifies as constructivist and then she mentions a few strategies.

Environmental art lesson plan: Students will construct a piece of art only using elements they find in the environment around them. Elements must be natural and organic. Following the works of Andy Goldsworthy.

The constructivist view involves learning and memory through a process of construction that may rely heavily on prior knowledge (p. 218). So information previously stored in the long-term memory is used to process and organize new information and to build upon what the brain already knows. Students find familiar/similar connections to new information being learned with information they have stored in their long-term memory. I chose to use a lesson plan about environmental creativity. With this lesson I would expect my students to be able to generate concepts about the environment through grouping objects in the environment or events in the environment that make it what it is together (p. 222). So plants, animals, insect, rivers, oceans, mountains, etc. are all things in the environment and all work together to keep the environment going. All of these things represent what the environment is made of and how these things interact with each other. These objects or events are similar in that they make up what is in the environment, what is naturally found and not human-made that is part of the world. I want my students to see rocks, tree branches, dirt, leaves, flowers, grass, water, etc. as ways to understand the environment and to create a piece of artwork that is made up of only environmental/natural materials found outside.

Through theory formation I would expect my student to be able to, on a larger scale, construct general understandings and belief systems about various aspects of the environment in our world (p. 226). This project is meant to help students see that there is art in everything we see and that art can be made by things that are organic and natural from our surrounding environment. There is something to be appreciated about materials that are free. Students will hopefully gain a better understanding of the ways in which the environment can aid us, humans, in different ways. The environment is not something that just appeared one day but over time and through evolution it has grown and changes. Addressing misconceptions about the environment would be important for students to learn how the environment was made and the evolution of the world we live in today. For example, many men taking dirt and putting it on the mountain did not make mountains, and then it became a bigger mountain. Humans did not make mountains and they cannot be taken down easily and replaced by another one (p. 236). Misconception is a belief that is inconsistent with commonly accepted and well-validated explanations of phenomena or events (p. 237). It is important for this lesson plan that when students are out gathering and collecting natural materials from the environment to create a work of art, they understand that these materials are all organic and come from nature and the earth itself. Humans do not usually have a say in the course of natures creations so I want my students to have an appreciation for the effort the world has gone through to give us such a beautiful place. The appreciation of the environments elements is key.
Authentic activities are similar to those students might encounter in the outside world (p. 231). Through this method I can have my students write about the evolution of the earth and thus the creation of the environment. Having students reflect upon the ways in which they view the environment as a resource for artworks or writing letters to the city to help keep the environment clean are also ways to get them learning about this topic in relative terms to them. Problem/project-based learning would be present in the students creating their own environmental piece of artwork. They would learn how to understand the life of things in the environment as well as the death of these same elements. Encouraging classroom dialogue about artists who are making people aware of the environment as an art form and the ways in which we can artistically view it is also a great way to help student elaborate on the topic (p. 230). This would most likely be a new idea to them, using things in nature alone to create a work of art, so it would be beneficial for students to experience what their peers think by talking. Finally, observation/experience would be taking the students outside and allowing them to be in nature (p. 228). Have them draw what they see or create small works of art that get their creativity flowing by using what they can find right off the bat. This way of constructing knowledge would help students experience the things around them as well as allowing students to discover many characteristics and principles about the environment around them. No matter the way a teacher goes about effectively teaching their students about a topic, it appears to seem that regardless of that topic students learn best through the constructivist process because this process allows students several ways of gathering knowledge, interpreting it, and then figuring out where it fits in with the rest of the prior knowledge they have already gained.


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  2. Rachel,

    First of all, I absolutely love the visual images with your post! It was so helpful to actually see some ways in which nature and the environment has been used to create art. I also enjoyed your idea of allowing students to experience and understand the environment in a new way. The idea that art is in everything and can be made from anything is a great lesson that students definitely need to learn. Your ideas for teaching this material were also interesting. I especially liked the authentic activity idea of writing letters to the city to help keep the environment clean. These types of assignments help connect and relate the outside world to the classroom, which I believe is so incredibly important for us as teachers to keep in mind.

  3. Rachel,

    You always have the most creative and artsy ideas! They are so great. I enjoy reading your posts and seeing how I can relate them to my classroom. Grouping objects of the environment is a great idea to develop students' concept learning. One way I could use this in my classroom would be to have students group different representations of a culture together (like a picture of food, clothing, etc.). I also included authentic activities in something that I would incorporate in my classroom. After all, these may be learning opportunities that our students may never have again.

  4. I absolutely love your environmental art idea! Not only does it link the project to the world around us, but I love the emphasis on free materials. Humans are so quick to forget all that the world has provided us! Great idea! You are so thoughtful and crafty!