Project: Forces of Nature
Participants: Year 5 pupils
Partnering with: Staincliffe Junior
Artist: Craig Dyson
Science topic: Natural forces
Our topic is Forces, and we will be exploring natural forces in particular. Using the power of nature as our inspiration we will be experimenting with and discovering the effects of natural forces such as wind, water weight and gravity as well as the forces we can apply ourselves. Our sessions with Craig will involve experimenting individually with sculpture techniques and creating sculptural artworks to represent our findings, as well as group collaboration to design and make our final piece. Our goal is to produce a sculpture with moving parts that is static but makes an action when force is applied – for example a movement created by water accumulating and reaching a tipping point, or a construction that is changed by the force of wind.
Session 1: 29th February 2016
This morning was the first of our four sculpture and science workshops for the Change project. We were very excited to work with a real artist and scientist. We have been learning about Forces in school so we were able to surprise our visitors (Craig the artist and Becca the scientist) with our knowledge. During the session we learnt lots more things about natural forces, especially wind. We looked at some experiments such as making a rocket out of a balloon, some string and a straw. Then we had to challenge our brains to create our own 3D inventions. There were two separate stations to explore. One was about scientific discovery and trying to understand why things happen, like why a ping pong ball moves when you blow it but a metal ball doesn’t. We also started to build wind dragons from a variety of light materials. The most exciting part was at the end when we started designing the big sculpture that we will make to go on in the exhibition at the end of the project.
“I really enjoyed trying to think about how to make sculptures that were not just art but scientific. It challenged my brain”
“My brain can think of plenty of stuff, like using it to make science art from just household scraps”
“This morning was filled with fun activities and a couple of experiments. It has also given my inspirational side a boost”
“This morning was very fun but normally I don’t like science”
Session 2: 29th February 2016
In our second session this afternoon the excitement continued. We had a different scientist called Chris with us too. We knew we had some hard challenges ahead, but we weren’t going to give up. We had two new activities to tackle. One was to create paintings using only wind and no brushes. The other was to build our very own windmill from scratch. We made a design, and with help from Craig we cut and shaped the materials into a windmill. We then tried to understand how it worked and why it was shaped in a certain way. Finally we worked on designs for the big artwork that we will finish in the next sessions. We don’t know what it will be yet because Craig needs to look at our design sketches and pick the best ones to work on as a group. One idea was to make a huge kite, another was to make a giant windmill out of lots of small windmills.
“It was a really fun session, and I even made my own windmill using card and maths and science to make it work”
“My favourite part this afternoon was when we made a paper mache wind dragon. I would like to finish it quickly”
“It was brilliant to see how well the pupils progressed in a short space of time, and to see them using creative art to explore natural forces” (Chris Batley, Cummins Turbo Technologies)
Session 3: 10th March 2016
Today we were surprised that Craig came for the Change project because we thought we were going to be doing normal lessons, so we got really excited! We finished our colourful, bright and eye-catching wind dragons. It was tricky cutting the small pieces for the scales but we succeeded eventually. We enjoyed making the wings too because they made the dragon look like it was really flying when you blew wind onto it. When it is outside it will fly all the time because it’s always windy at our school, you can even see a windmill in the playground. We made some natural leaves too that would become part of our final artwork. Making the clay shapes was excellent, although it was dirty work. When we had finished the leaves we had a Hyrstmount leaf hospital that saved any broken ones, which was really funny! We are super-excited about finishing our leaves and seeing them on display at Batley Art Gallery when they have become one giant leaf.
“What we learnt today is something I will do when I get home, in particular making sculptures that can move in the wind”
“Look how beautiful it is, my dragon looks like it has real scales”
” I have only just started to do art mixed with science and I feel more confident. Imagine if I practice all the time now, I could be the best in the world”
“I loved how creative today was, the children were able to explore their artistic side whilst subconsciously tackling some tricky science and as a result developing their skills and knowledge through art “
Session 4: 18th March 2016
We have just finished our work for the Change project and we are very happy with the results. Over the past few weeks we have learnt so many new things. As a class we have created things we didn’t think were possible but with teamwork we made it happen. We feel like we haven’t had to work hard to remember things because we see them every day, but now we know the science behind natural forces. Things that we didn’t notice before like wind, rain and gravity have now become more exiting and we find ourselves thinking about the possibilities of how we can play with these forces. We hope that what we have made will impress people at the exhibition and we are really looking forward to inviting everyone we know to come along and see what can be achieved when you put your mind to it.
“The giant windmill was so simple; we used all the same ideas as our miniature ones but just measured everything bigger”
“I have never used metal as an art material before. At first I was a little bit scared but then when we had the right training it was really exciting”
“I am sad that we cannot do our sessions anymore but I am happy about what I have learnt and proud of what I have achieved”
“When are we doing this again?”
“It has been great to be involved with the project, it’s a fantastic opportunity for the children to get involved with real artists and real scientists. Projects like this really help us as teachers to bring subjects to life and grow children’s enthusiasm towards them” (Ms Shaw)
A few words from our teacher:
“Children were able to access vocabulary they haven’t heard before and it was a fantastic entry into the Forces topic. They really enjoyed the topic and were excited to test theories out during sessions. Due to the sessions having a practical element children were able to explore techniques they have never used before. Children’s confidence has definitely improved, and the ability to have a go without worrying what the outcome would be. They still talk about the ‘Change’ experience and look back on it as a happy memory.”
Our volunteer from Cummins Turbo Technologies said:
“It was brilliant to see how well the pupils progressed in a short space of time, and to see them using creative art to explore natural forces” (Chris Batley, CTT)