Project: Seeing in a New Light
Participants: Year 4 pupils
Partnering with: Windmill Primary
Artist: Craig Dyson
Science topic: Light

Through our investigations we’re going to make exciting, extraordinary discoveries about an ordinary, everyday element – light. We’ll be experimenting with various materials to see how light can be transformed, for example by bending aluminium and looking at how kaleidoscopes are constructed. We’ll explore what happens when you block light out to change its colour and direction of travel, and how movement of light and objects creates shadows and animation. For the final exhibition we plan to make shadow art – one or more collaborative artworks that are incomplete in themselves and are completed by the addition of light and the movement of that light.

Session Images

Session 1: 23rd February 2016

Our artist Craig and a scientist visited us today to help us learn about light. It was very exciting because we don’t normally get to meet artists and scientists so we needed to ask lots of questions. The scientist was called Matt and he was from Cummins Turbo, a company that makes turbo engines that help cars go really fast. Cummins Turbo also help schools and other people to learn about science. In our first session this morning we had many challenges and learnt a lot about light. We know what materials are opaque, translucent and transparent and we used this knowledge to create our own individual shadow sculptures. The sculptures looked like bits of rubbish but when you used a light source to illuminate them it created a shadow that was the secret piece of art. It was a fun way to learn new things and we’ll be able to impress our friends with our new skills and knowledge.

“I really enjoyed this lesson, it was fun”

“When you shine a light on an opaque object it blocks it out”

Session 2: 23rd February 2016

This afternoon we continued to learn about light in a creative way. Working with artist Craig and scientist Matt was fun and interesting. We developed our skills and tried to challenge our brains with new information, and we started to build a giant sculpture. This sculpture is made out of opaque bits of rubbish and when you shine a light source onto it it creates a wonderful shadow of the Statue of Liberty. It will be funny to show this to people without a light source first because it will look like a pile of rubbish, but then they will be shocked when it is changed by adding a light source because it will look like one of the world’s most famous sculptures!

“Today we did science and art, we did so many different things, we even went into a den”

“ The most important part of the day was when we took some rubbish and made it into the Statue of Liberty”

“Year 4 have just had an amazing day at Field Lane with Craig Dyson. Children have been experimenting with light and shadows which has allowed them to apply their previous learning on this topic. Children wrote up their reflections at the end of each session and I was impressed with how they were able to use their scientific vocabulary. Craig was brilliant with the children and really inspired them” (Mr Lorgat)

Session 3: 25th February 2016

We were told that we would be able to create a surprise sculpture in the last workshop if we all worked well in this one. We all worked extra hard so that we could get the surprise. We listened very carefully and created tin foil people. We also looked at how to paint with light in our dark den. Callum from Cummins Turbo came to see us again and helped us with our scientific words so that we started to talk like scientists as well as working like artists. After a short break we started to decorate our small shadow sculptures by painting every little part with one bright colour. We also learnt about the different parts in a kaleidoscope and how it works.

“My brother told me science was boring and I told him it wasn’t”

“Can we do this every Wednesday?”

“I feel inspired and I am going to try what I have learnt at home”

“The children were very inspired. The visitors’ enthusiasm and creativity definitely rubbed off on them. There was a good balance between art and science. Having read some of the evaluation booklets, I am able to see that the children have been using the science vocabulary relating to light and shadows” (Mr Lorgat)

Session 4: 25th February 2016

Because this was our last workshop we were adding the finishing touches to all of our work so we needed to be very careful. First of all we added translucent colour to our tin foil people by adding tissue paper. This looked really cool when you shone a light source onto it because the light went through the translucent material and reflected off the shiny material underneath. We continued with our big Statue of Liberty and just got it finished in time. The secret shadow looked amazing but we are keeping the secret to ourselves until it appears in the exhibition. At the same time as making the Statue of Liberty some of us were creating the surprise sculpture, which was a kaleidoscope. We had learnt about how kaleidoscopes are made so we made a giant one of our own. It looked amazing and there was just a little bit of work left for Craig to do to make it ready for the exhibition. We are all excited to show everyone how hard we have worked, what we have learnt and what amazing art we have created.

“The final day at Field Lane was just as inspirational as the first day. The kaleidoscope that the children made looks fantastic and even the staff at school enjoyed using it! My personal favourite today was the ‘light art’. I was amazed at the art the children were able to create by just using a torch and camera” (Mr Lorgat)

“The sessions have been truly exciting. It was great to see pupils using their scientific knowledge practically in a creative setting. This further increased their skills in using scientific and art vocabulary. It was also great for children to learn about the life of an artist and see some of the art that Craig had created, it gave them a real insight into being an artist” (Ms Motara)

“I really enjoyed the workshop. It was great to see the children so intrigued and Craig had them hooked on his every word. They really enjoyed the surprise of the kaleidoscope and making a giant sized version that they could see working. Year 4 were very interested in the science behind the shadow tasks and they were using their new vocabulary throughout the day. A fantastic workshop!”  (Ms Walton)

A few words from our teacher:

Children have shown a deeper understanding about light and have been able to use key scientific vocabulary in relation to the topic. Having a full two days with a sculptor was a great experience. Craig spoke about his own work and what inspires him as an artist, encouraging the children to think of their own options for later in life. A fantastic project. Children and staff have been really inspired.”

Our volunteer from Cummins Turbo Technologies said:

“I enjoyed being involved with the Change Project with the students, and seeing and hearing their imaginations while working on the light animation project” (Callum Parkinson, CTT)