Posted by: csdailyblog | February 3, 2011

Investigating Science, Systems, and Ceramics at Conserve School

Here are some examples of the fascinating class projects dreamed up by our husband-and-wife science and art teachers, Robert Eady and Nancy Schwartz.

What’s going on in this photo? Science Teacher Robert Eady explains:

This activity is an exercise in systems thinking. It explores the concepts of emergent behavior and the dynamics of self-organization. The students have to lower the plastic pipe to the ground without losing contact with it or dropping the metal bands that are on each of the ends. Typically, the pipe goes just the opposite way initially. Flocking behavior, migrating turtles, traffic jams, and even the stock market are systems that demonstrate this behavior. 

Robert teaches science in the afternoon and art in the morning. Below you can see him introducing students to different types of pottery from around the world.

Nancy and Robert were both professional potters prior to working for Conserve School. Robert teaches one section of ceramics and Nancy teaches the other. Ceramics is very popular with students, who seem to really enjoy the hands-on work involved in coaxing lumps of clay into symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing shapes on our potter’s wheels.

In addition to teaching Ceramics, Nancy is teaching Earth Art this semester, in which students use a variety of natural materials to create art that draws on cultural traditions from around the globe. Above, Nancy introduces students to this global perspective through a Tuareg tea ceremony. Nancy and Robert lived with the Tuareg people while stationed in Africa through the Peace Corps. During the ceremony, Nancy discusses with students the value of hand-produced versus mass-produced artifacts.

See more photos like these and read more details about Nancy’s current clsases on her Conserve School website

More photos from these activities below.

Mary Anna

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