Project: Mixed Media – Look, No Engine!
Participants: Year 5 pupils
Partnering with: Carlinghow JI&N
Artist: Fiona Goodwin
Science topic: Forces
Working with the Forces topic we have chosen to focus on movement, gravity and air resistance. We will begin our research in the plant world observing and researching facts about seeds – how they are designed to fly and why they are noted for their aerodynamic function and dispersal characteristics. We are planning to conduct some experiments to investigate how real seeds respond to the changes in forces that we test them under – different amounts of air resistance, for example. Using 3D paper construction techniques we’ll then make our own paper seeds and create an installation piece that represents our observations from the experiments.
We’re off to a flying start! We began our journey with some in-flight entertainment – BBC clips from The Secret Life of Plants on Seed Aviation, looking at seed producing plants that are designed to fly. Our investigations began by creating, observing and testing three quite different styles of paper constructs and exploring the differences between them – shape, dimension, and weight. We noted in our three groups the changes we needed to make to them in order to help their flight. We’ve had so much fun testing them and recording our findings from a perfect launch pad in school. We’re begun to look more closely at our primary source – the maple seed – using magnification to help us focus in on features and characteristics, and we have begun to experiment with drawing and mark-marking techniques to illustrate our observations and fuel further investigations. It’s a great start, and we’re looking forward to uncovering more facts and secrets from our aerodynamic seed.
“It was fun – I really enjoyed using the old fashioned printer”
”I really enjoyed meeting the artist Fiona and flying the helicopters!”
So much fun today, especially to be in on World Book Day which added another dimension and layer of excitement! We made huge leaps today inspired by our initial drawings, enlarging the scale and dimension of our seed pods and beginning to work in mixed media to create masses of wonderful surfaces and textures. We carefully selected thread, ribbon, pastel, glitter, tissue, fabric and feathers in order to mimic the drawn marks we had created through our much loved carbon method. We worked quickly and confidently, stimulated too by the very pleasing results the laminating process achieved in such a short space of time, creating sometimes unexpected but very beautiful marks. Our traced and beautifully cut shapes are layered and ready to be pieced together and re-laminated. They have a lovely light, aerodynamic quality about them. We were so engrossed we continued into the afternoon after Fiona had left and we’re more than ready to move on with more tests.
“I loved putting all the different stuff into the pouches, especially the glitter!”
“The laminator was like a cooker!”
“The morning went so fast….I can’t wait for the next session. My favourite part was cutting out the parts of our wings!”
So to our final session. We really don’t know where the time has gone, time flies when you’re having fun, literally! We began by revisiting the laminates we created last session, looking at their aerodynamic qualities, testing them and circulating air around our samples. We know how to get the wings to move and have sampled and discussed the construction methods that need to be used to make the final piece in the gallery. So our final part of the story was to illustrate our journey. We had fun with pen and ink, happily sucking on our lollipops – we need the sticks for part of the spinning mechanism you see – as we penned out thoughts, captured our adventures and created more beautiful, imaginative drawings. We’re really looking forward to seeing our work in another setting and coming together as a collective piece. All this from one seed – nature is truly inspiring!
“The Change project sessions have been the best lessons ever!”
“I used to think art was boring but after Fiona came in think that it is great!”
“I’ve learnt how seeds fly and the forces which affect them”
The children now know about the characteristics and properties of different seeds and how they are designed to fly. In the sessions, they conducted different experiments, and worked together to produce some fantastic art work which they can’t wait to show off to family and friends. They have learnt lots about flight, and the introduction of specific scientific vocabulary allowed the children to develop their understanding and knowledge of the world around them. From the sessions the children have gained an enthusiasm for Art, they are eager to do art. Some thought it was boring before but now they think it is great! I have also seen improved cooperation between the children in the class. For staff, the main benefit was seeing science taught in a different way which could be used in other areas of the science curriculum.
The class and staff who worked with Fiona had a fantastic experience. She has even inspired some of the children to want to become artists when they grow up, as she has the best job in the world!