Top tips: Start with art activities
Start With Art offers a fresh type of Explorify activity, bringing together Science and Art. Curiosity and creativity are qualities that both scientists and artists share - whatever their age.
Start With Art combines Science with Art. Curiosity and creativity are qualities that both scientists and artists share - whatever their age. Please note: These activities are designed to be used once the children have gained some knowledge about their science topic so by all means start a lesson with art, but not a new topic. Start With Art is more suited to midway through a topic, or even at the end.
Guided by questions (which we provide) children look for links to their learning in science. These won’t always be obvious, and the responses you get may reveal misconceptions, which others in the class can challenge and debate. Thinking in this way can, in fact, reinforce children’s understanding of the nature of science itself.
How to run a Start With Art activity
1. Play the video, and a screen will move slowly to one side, accompanied by a burst of music, revealing an image of an artwork. This could be a painting, a sculpture, or even a large ‘installation’.
2. Press PAUSE as the music fades and the picture is fully revealed. Encourage them to look closely at the image and talk to a partner about what they see. We provide suggested questions to guide their discussions, most of which start with the same four questions:
• Describe what you see.
• How do you think the artist made this artwork? Did they use pencil, paint, collage, clay, or something else?
• What do you or don’t you like about this artwork?
• What science can you see in it?
Further questions are specific to each artwork and aimed to provoke scientific thinking and point them towards the intended science topic.
3. Press PLAY and the name of the artwork, artist, medium and date it was created will be revealed.
4. You might also like to read aloud the short (100-word) biography of the artist we’ve provided, written in child-friendly language. It’s not advisable, however, to pull up other works by the same artist without checking their suitability first. We do offer a link to the artist’s own site (or a reputable site with information about deceased artist) but advise you research this outside of a lesson.
Tips for a successful session
1. As your class become more experienced with Start With Art, you might try asking them these questions before revealing the artwork:
Does anything they’ve been learning about in Science give them a clue?
What sort of artwork would they choose to make with a link to their learning in Science?
2. After you’ve shown them the image, use the questions provided as these are specifically tailored to each work.
3. Some children might find it helpful to hold up a small frame to reduce how much of the picture they need to focus on at any one time.
4. Have a couple of examples of other suitable works by the same artist (researched and vetted beforehand!) ready to share with the children.
5. Get Creative! Each Start With Art activity provides a single suggestion for a creative follow-up under this heading. While creating their own artworks, encourage the children to reflect on their science learning.