ROCKPORT — An interdisciplinary fall project by Camden-Rockport Middle School seventh graders has been selected as a Model of Excellence.
This national database of high quality, meaningful teacher and student work is the brainchild of educational leaders from Harvard University and Expeditionary Learning, according to Five Towns, in a news release.
“This important work recognizes the highest level of integrated curriculum development, instruction, assessment and students final product work,” said Five Towns. “Way to go John Dietter, Hilary Flagg, Sam Zwecker, Sarah Whittam, Beth York, and Kristen Andersen!
In their project, called Learning How to See, the students focused on the observation and representation of symbiotic relationships in the environment.
Their teachers then summarized their students’ responses to the activity.
In science class, they studied the concept of symbiosis through fieldwork at local sites. At the same time, in art class, they worked to understand how to use various techniques to visually document their observations of the natural world. After building background knowledge, students selected one example of symbiosis they had directly documented through their observations and studied that example in-depth. The culminating product was a sculpture made up of mixed media paintings on wood and sgraffito on porcelain clay. Students completed their artwork under the guidance of the art teacher, a visiting artist, and produced a formal piece of science writing focused on a claim, evidence, and reasoning.
The writing and sculpture were on public display at a local coffee shop along with the observation journals the students used for research.
In the end, students report that they look at the environment differently, because they start to see the patterns that are there that they didn’t notice before. Another way this project appeals to students is in the multiple ways they show their learning; students with strength in writing lead with that strength. For our young artists, they learn about how powerful visual communication is. They are able to communicate their nature observations in two very different artistic ways that come together in their final art piece. Their highly detailed, accurate scientific illustrations and their loose, expressive abstract collage represent their learning in both science and art.
“Camden-Rockport Middle School is so proud to have their hard work recognized,” said Five Towns. “The school is on a journey to implement meaningful project based learning experiences for students and this is strong affirmation at the national level!”
Visit the link to view this work in its entirety here: https://modelsofexcellence.eleducation.org/projects/learning-how-see