Henri Matisse and Science in First Grade


First Graders recently finished an Integrated Science and Visual Arts unit in which they explored the concept of LIGHT.
They learned about the ways in which light interacts with the environment.  Some materials allow light to pass through them, others allow only some light through and others block all the light and create a dark shadow on any surface beyond them, where the light cannot reach. This was a hands on exploratory unit where students learned about a light source, what makes a shadow, and the concepts of transparency, translucency, reflection, and opaqueness.  There was a bit of math learning as well, when students explored geometric shapes and how they are distinctly different from organic shapes.  Simultaneously, students learned about the French artist, Henri Matisse, and his stunning use of both organic and geometric shapes. They also learned about his strong use of color and why light was important to him.  Students gathered an assortment of papers that met the above qualities and created paper cutouts using organic and geometric shapes in the style of Henri Matisse. Here is a group of collages created by the very talented and brilliant IAA first graders.  At IAA we certainly are nurturing the next generation of artists.

Common Core and Related Standards

1-PS4-3. Plan and conduct an investigation to determine the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light.

Reason with shapes and their attributes.
Distinguish between defining attributes (e.g., triangles are closed and three-sided) versus non-defining attributes (e.g., color, orientation, overall size); build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes.

National Core Art Standards -VA:Cr2.1.1a
Explore uses of materials and tools to create works of art or design.
Vermont Visual Arts Standards
A1-2:16 Students make connections between/among the arts and disciplines outside the arts by…
· Communicating ideas, concepts, feelings from other disciplines
(e.g., show understanding of science concepts using collage )

About arts coach

I am the arts integration coach for the Integrated Arts Academy, Vermont's one and only magnet school dedicated to the arts. I work closely with classroom teachers, local artists, art organizations, and other community members to provide a network of opportunities in the arts for our students.

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