Project: Creative Chromosomes
Participants: Year 6 pupils
Partnering with: Staincliffe Junior
Artist: Shelley Burgoyne
Science topic: Circle of Life, Living Things

For our Circle of Life, Living Things topic we have chosen to focus on our individual makeup and our cells, and ideas about identity and uniqueness. We will be looking at changes and variations that occur in the unique DNA codes and changes that occur in the life cycle through growth. We will find out about DNA, what it is and where it is and how this knowledge is used in scientific research. We will be collecting images from science research of cells and will look at the patterns within them. These may be developed as pattern and repeat images as well as large drawings and collages. We will incorporate our visual research into experimentation, drawing and printmaking and aim to create a large artwork printed on textiles.

Session Images

Session 1: 11th February 2016

We have all been preparing quite a bit before we started working with Shelley today. Our science lessons have been focussing on DNA, chromosomes and how our individual identities are made of a recipe of components that form the basis of life. Today in our first Change session we looked at all sorts of images and representations of DNA structures. The variety of images we found in our research has inspired us to draw and try to understand how these structures are built up. We had a demonstration of drawing techniques and have tried to use line and tone in our drawings. The possibilities in our images have also been interesting to see, for example seeing how making repeats using photocopies placed together can extend the length of our DNA structure drawings. We loved the results and it was an exciting morning.

“I enjoyed the time in art today. We have been linking art and science which is a cool idea. Now I know what DNA looks like and it helps a lot in our artwork”

“I loved mixing pencils with water and watching Shelley demonstrate drawing”

“Working with Shelley was a privilege and I liked having an artist in our class.  I enjoyed everything and it was fun linking art with other subjects.  I had a lot of fun drawing today and learning new techniques”

“I enjoyed everything, but in particular linking the creation of art with science.  I could express myself in a whole world of art whilst learning about science and DNA especially.  I learnt as well that DNA stands for Deoxyribonucleic Acid!!”

Session 2: 25th February 2016

We have been developing our DNA drawings and using more colours and working with the patterns. We watched a drawing demonstration as well as a printing demonstration. We also experimented with the light box to make our drawings. It was interesting to see how we could use our simple drawings and make them into repeat designs using our printing blocks a second time. It was lots of fun printing, and it was good to have scientist Chris Allen from Cummins Turbo working with us today (he learnt how to do printing as well). We worked together in small groups and used photocopies of our DNA drawings to build on the big collage activity. We will do more with this next week. This was a very busy session.

“I enjoyed letting my imagination and creativity flow free. I enjoyed learning about printmaking”

“I am very grateful for this exciting lesson! I enjoyed using the light box for my drawing. I enthusiastically printed my inspired DNA with some colourful printing ink. I had different activities to participate in and I really appreciated your time and work with us!”

“I am going to do some more internet research about DNA and also look at Shelley’s website. Thank you Shelley for bringing the Sharpies, special crayons, graphite and light box”

“I loved doing the huge collage activity with our DNA drawings and working together on it”

Session 3: 3rd March 2016

This was certainly a very lively session as we had lots to do. We began with transferring our drawings from our sketchbooks onto the Polyblock. We did some printing last week so it was easy to know and understand what was happening. Also we were all very enthusiastic and keen to do more printmaking. Shelley then set up the printing area with the large piece of fabric for our banner. It was amazing to see what happened next as our images were printed onto the surface and we began to slowly build up the overall design. We also worked on the large collage ideas which was a fun way to create a sort of large drawing using photocopies to repeat the designs. We all had a lot of fun in this session with lots of enthusiasm and energy for our art and science work.

“We have been creating a huge and magnificent collage of DNA, it’s been a great experience! I enjoyed creating a mix of colours and blending them in. I enjoyed Shelley’s enthusiasm for our work. I also learnt with the collage that sometimes things I haven’t intentionally done can actually make the picture better!”

“It’s been a pleasure today. I have enjoyed everything but mostly the printing. It was fun.   I have loved drawing the DNA which I now know means Deoxyribonucleic Acid! Doing this project has been an excellent experience”

“Today we did some printing and drawing in sections. Shelley and Chris played a big part in helping us with the printing on the large banner”

“I enjoyed printing my pattern on the fabric, it was amazing. Our patterns and designs are legendary

Session 4: 15th March 2016

The whole class was still feeling excited and inspired by the trip to the Science Fair at Batley Girls’ High last week.   We talked about some of the things we had done – experiments with lots of colours, testing things out, new activities with strange objects and equipment.   Nevertheless, there was a good feeling of concentration today, we all wanted to make the most of our last session. The textile banner print is now complete! This was a really a challenging task which we got through with flying colours.   Shelley was very proud to see how well we all worked and printed as cleanly as possible!! A lot of care was taken and the end result shows that. We also completed two very large collage drawings which represent a wonderful group DNA image. Everyone’s individual DNA pattern is included as well as everyone’s own individual style of drawing, which makes these collages very special pieces of work. We had a discussion about names for these pieces and there were some very good suggestions. We also learnt a new technique – working with Brusho dye to colour some textile pieces and then printing an image on top. All in all we and Shelley feel we’ve produced some great work during this project and that we have worked very well as a group.

“I loved working on the large colour collage. Thank you. I also found the Brusho dyes interesting as you didn’t know what colours they would turn out as. It was exciting and surprising to use our Polyblock on top of this as well”

“I enjoyed printing the large textile banner. The last session was the best as we could see everything being completed”

“It’s been an amazing experience on this project and will be amazing to see the exhibition. The whole thing has been awesome and I hope to do it again”

“Today I enjoyed finishing the colour DNA and then also doing the powder ink Brusho. It was really fun”

A few words from our teacher:

“This has been an amazing opportunity for our children to develop a new and creative way to think about science. As soon as the project began children wanted to research the DNA subject for themselves both at home and on the computer in class. Their artwork was displayed on a grand scale as it was created and the children couldn’t wait to share their scientific knowledge with any adult who ventured in to look at the work in their classroom. The project has been an amazing opportunity for our children. They have loved working with a real artist and it has given them new experiences in their art and science learning.”