Anatomy of a Project: Kinetic Conundrum

Anatomy of a Project: Kinetic Conundrum


>>Gus: Today, you’re gonna bring
all the work that you’ve done to the cafeteria for
the culminating event.>>And I think each of us are
gonna describe what you need. For tech ed obviously, you
need your kinetic sculpture. I think it’s best that each
person brings their own sculpture down there, because we don’t
want any accidents to happen.>>Paul: Also, we don’t want you to
forget those two guiding questions: how does art reflect the community? And the other one is,
how does science, math and engineering connect to art? And also you’re gonna wanna
show them your Google Maps on the public art sites, okay? And all of those things, you have
to be prepared to talk about. And also, you don’t wanna–>>Narrator: The eighty plus students in King Middle School’s
York House embarked on a twelve week learning
expedition in the fall of 2009. They researched and
photographed public art sites, produced a Google Maps walking
tour and created a model of an original kinetic sculpture,
and a proposal to install it.>>Paul: I think it’s fine tuning a
product to a certain extent and–>>Narrator: The project began with a teacher planning
session over the summer.>>It’s very difficult to have a
really deep, meaningful conversation around curriculum and how
that’s all gonna fit together if you don’t actually have the
thing made and can connect the kind of learning that’s most important.>>Narrator: Once the goals were
set, tech ed teacher, Gus Goodwin, took up the challenge of
building a model prototype.>>Gus: So I decided I’d
take a sculpture course, and so this is what I
made in that course. So I brought this in and the kids
right away pointed out, “Well, it doesn’t work Mr.
Goodwin,” or, “This is bent and you need to fix that and that.” It was pretty funny.>>That’s pretty, yeah, Okay,
try to get one with the sun.>>Sarah: Today we’re out here taking
photos of already existing public art that we’re studying
in social studies.>>Sarah: We’re gonna make a virtual
tour where if you click on the piece of art, it will come up with
information that we’ve found and written about the
statue or piece of art.>>Paul: Log in using this
address right there under Google and then we go to my maps. Students are working with Google
Maps and they are identifying all of the public art pieces that
exist in the city of Portland. And then all of our kids have created
a description of different art pieces out there, so that these different
public art sites can be connected as a walking tour.>>Student: I know how to get there.>>You know how to get there?>>Teacher: So if we
went to the other map, would you be able to get us there?>>Paul: So basically, everything
that anybody would want to know about that public art
piece will be here, and it’s designed by our students. So it’s sort of a public
art public service.>>Asiya: This is called Art
Underfoot, because they got like leaves, feathers, like anything
that you can find on the ground, and they’ve made it out of
like bronze bricks and stuff. And I found out that Art Underfoot
wasn’t made by one artist. It was like a community of people. It kinda shows our community can
come together with different people and how they can help each
other make one piece of art.>>Narrator: In language arts
class, students wrote letters to Portland city officials
and created proposals for the installation of their
original works of public art.>>Gus: I loved shop
when I was in school, but the big difference is the teacher
had a plan and said, “Okay, kids, we’re making this pump handle lamp
and if you follow the directions, it’ll come out just like
mine and that’s great.” That was good for those
times, but times have changed, so the focus is more on the
kids inventing their own stuff.>>Student: And if the wind
is blowing hard enough, then it’ll make this spin
around, and the weight from this guy makes
him come back down.>>Nesser: This class is like fun
because like the teacher help to be creative and to
make our own designs. So like we will have that
experience as we go along.>>Gus: Well, I think kids have
the opportunity to kinda tinker. They get to think about something,
but then also actually build it, create it, and in that process,
fix it when things go wrong. It’s an incredible value
that I think is lacking, where they don’t have a class like
this or like an art class or music or something where the kids
actually have to do something, get their hands dirty and make stuff.>>Excellent, Last night,
when I put all the sculptures>>So there’s like eighty
sculptures in the front of my room and it was really amazing,
thinking of where we started and where we ended up,
just the variety of ideas and the ingenuity you had. Well, you should be really proud. It’s just so cool to look
at them all together, because it’s really very cool.>>Student: It’s kinetic
because it moves on its own, so it blows in the wind.>>These things blow in the
wind, and this is how it works.>>Narrator: On a Friday after school, students displayed
their model sculptures and discussed their installation
proposals with parents and members of the community.>>David: What do you mean, you did
the math to figure out the balance?>>Student: Well, this
one, which is two inches by two inches, so I did half of that.>>David: It’s pretty exciting to
see the kids get engaged in the work that they’re doing, to take
ownership of the work they’re doing, feel responsible for it
and then be able to talk about the things that
they’re learning.>>So you had this side
balancing this side.>>David: Sometimes, I think we get
too concerned about the standards. And there’s an assumption
behind a lotta that that we actually know what our
kids are gonna face in the future. And I’m not very convinced of that. And so the pieces about creativity,
cooperation, problem solving, those are gonna be there, and so the
kids getting those here is crucial and key.>>Adne: It’s a weeping willow and
it’s called the Miss Lincoln Tree. The name was named after Lincoln
Park, where I wanna put this.>>And these will blow in the wind?>>Yeah, it has a little bit of
aesthetics, and it’s three based–>>It’s got a lot of aesthetics.>>Adne: Yeah.>>Well, I think you
just got my first vote.>>Adne: Oh, thank you.>>For more information on what works in public education
go to edutopia.org

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