Project: Microbe Journey
Participants: Year 7 students
Partnering with: Batley Girls’ High
Artist: Shelley Burgoyne
Science topic: Food Chain, Microbes & Decay
Working with the Food Chain and Microbes topic we have chosen to focus on changes in the food chain and aspects of decay. We will look at what happens in the cycle of growth and decay and the changes to cells and the appearance of surfaces. We will be preparing Petri dishes which will be inoculated with microbes ready for our art research. In our research we will look at the colours, patterns and textures that are created during the growth and decay processes. We will use microscopes, magnifiers and digitally projected images of our growing microbes. Our artwork will incorporate drawings, coloured inks and creating new surfaces. We will experiment with paper making and printmaking as potential media for a large collaborative artwork. Our science and art experimentations will also be built around creating and observing an archive of moulds and decaying objects in the art room.
Session 1: 10th February 2016
Today our science and art teachers joined together for the start of the Change project. We spent time discussing the Food Chain, Microbes and Decay topic. Mr Bailey from science brought samples of microbes growing in Petri dishes and we also looked at some images of samples of other microbes on the Smart Board. The variety and colours were amazing. It was interesting to hear about links with science and art research from Shelley. We then looked at paper samples and talked about creating paper and how these textured surfaces might decay or break down and be similar in a way to the decay processes in the food chain.
“Today was fun as we were linking our bacteria and microbes project with our new art project. We learnt new things about making paper and using a diffuser to spray ink”
“It was interesting comparing science and art in the session today. It was good having Shelley the artist here and Charlotte from the engineering works at Cummins Turbo. Charlotte helped with my papermaking”
“I always wondered how paper is made and now I know! I also learnt a lot more about microbes”
“We learnt about some links between art and science. In art we can look at pictures of microbes and make realistic pictures of them, in science you can look at the bacteria and describe them and look at them in microscopes as well”
Session 2: 24th February 2016
We have all completed making some paper now. The paper making was fun and sometimes a bit messy! It takes time and patience to get the pulp just right on the mesh so that the paper comes out evenly. Mr. Bailey from Science and Charlotte our visitor from Cummins Turbo Technologies were really good at the papermaking. We all helped each other to lift the paper and blot the water out. Everyone also worked very hard today to develop the microbe drawings with inks and painting with brushes and diffusers. We started some detail drawing with graphite pencils too.
“I have been practising a new skill with the blow diffuser. It makes the paint spotty. I also learnt about corrosion talking with Charlotte our scientist visitor today. We looked at metal samples as well”
“I enjoyed using the pastels on my drawing. I have been drawing microbe details onto my ink and collage from last week. The lesson today was also good when I was learning about corrosion”
“I feel fantastic about today’s lesson as I have learnt how to make paper as well as work with a diffuser. I have noticed that bacteria links with art and science”
“I have enjoyed using the special graphite pencil and putting ink and colours onto my work with the blow diffuser”
Session 3: 2nd March 2016
It was great to see how our paper making turned out. We made 45 sheets altogether in the previous two sessions! Now we can start to use the paper towards our final artwork. We are going to make images about microbes and decay on the paper. We started the session with a printmaking demonstration. Shelley made different drawings on Polyblock from our microbe research. We saw how you can print two colours and print onto different surfaces. We were all very keen to get on with the printmaking then. The main task today was to print onto our handmade paper. We also started to make some small ink paintings onto filter papers. We all especially enjoyed this; it was fun putting the paintings into the Petri dishes. Our science teachers saw the results and liked what we made as well.
“Today I loved the session because we drew with ink on filter papers from science. I dipped it into water and then used a small painting brush to make the painting. Then I put it into a Petri dish. I have learnt that if you put water onto a filter paper and then put the ink the colour spreads. I also learnt that if you overheat germs they die”
“Scientists and artists study and draw microbes. Bacteria grow an agar jelly. I learnt how to mix and paint inks”
“The microbes transform in the Petri dish on agar jelly. The ink transforms on the wet filter paper”
“I have been learning to do printmaking using rollers and printing inks. I felt very creative. I like printing on the handmade paper”
Session 4: 9th March 2016
This really has been quite a journey over the last four sessions. Our Microbe Journey has involved all the aspects of researching and finding out new facts about microbes. We learnt about what they are, the different categories, virus, bacteria, fungus, and how essential they are to all life. It has all come together with some lovely pieces of artwork produced and Y7 have thoroughly enjoyed the project. Two students did interviews with Shelley and Charlotte for the school website as well. We have learnt new techniques in our drawing as well as making paper and printmaking. We also made small ink paintings. We printed onto the ink paintings today and these are now inside the Petri dishes which really make the artwork interesting. They are really fun, colourful pieces. Charlotte came from Cummins again today and brought a Turbine Engine and told us some more details about the engineering aspects of this. She also joined in and helped us with our drawing and printing. It’s been a good experience all round, well done everyone for all the hard work!
“I realise now that in art and science you can be creative. I feel good and happy about the work I have done”
“I have learnt a lot about the way that microbes look. It has been fun looking at the diverse colours and shapes”
“I liked making the print today and putting it in the Petri dish. The final artwork is going to be really strong, the colours are great”
“Today I loved making my art in the Petri dish as it became like a framed picture ready for the gallery”
“I liked making paper most of all. The result will be good with all our images together in one large artwork”
A few words from our teacher:
“Learners quickly developed individual earning styles during the course of the workshops, and used different techniques confidently. They also felt confident enough to evaluate each workshop session. Evaluation was done throughout the workshops, with comfortable discussion and conversation with peers and staff. This developed a wider understanding of Science and Art, thus creating independent thinking and learning skills and a feeling of freedom to produce outstanding work.”
Our volunteer from Cummins Turbo Technologies said:
“I was thoroughly impressed by the questions the students asked about what I do as an engineer and about how my job relates to the project they were doing. They asked some brilliant questions which were relevant to the “decay” topic and I found that when I returned for more sessions they had remembered what I had told them and clearly thought about it, making them want to know more. The whole experience of working on the project was thoroughly enjoyable and I feel I got a lot out of it. I can’t wait to see the finished artwork at the exhibition” (Charlotte Wolstenholme, CTT)