By Ted Watt
Fourteen teachers from Holyoke, Ludlow, Whately, Northampton and further afield, participated in a twelve-hour training on the integration of science and arts to meet instructional goals and standards identified for teachers in grades K-8. The training, funded in part by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, introduced teachers to the steps in the engineering design process, something that carries a high profile in the new 2013 MA Science and Technology/Engineering Standards.
Instructors for the training included Ted Watt, Hitchcock Center naturalist and science educator. Ted presented science content, through lectures, images, hands-on activities, and discussion with teachers. Working with Ted were Priscilla Kane Hellweg, Executive Director and teaching artist from the Enchanted Circle Theater in Holyoke, and Carol Berner from the Education and Child Study Department at Smith College. Priscilla and Carol supported and extended the science learning by incorporating a wonderful variety of arts activities into our days. A carefully planned sequence of lessons enabled teachers to experience an integrated approach, combining participatory science activities with sketching, role playing, theater games, charades, and poetry.
Ted says, “In my years of working with teaching artists from the Enchanted Circle Theater I have seen over and over again how integrating arts activities into hands-on science lessons enriches and deepens learning. By offering students opportunities to tap their individual creativity and dramatic sense, all within the context of the science content, student motivation, participation, and sense of ownership sky-rockets.”
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