Science Meets Design at Haines Elementary

Residency • Visual Arts

How do you bring attention to global crises in a way that’s interesting and fun? At Haines Elementary, wearable art did the trick. In her spring 2016 residency, teaching artist Nicole Beck collaborated with Haines Elementary’s science teacher Dr. Bellasanta Ferrer to implement the “People and Plants” program, part of Urban Gateways’ STEAM initiative (STEAM = science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) in partnership with Columbia College’s Scientists for Tomorrow. In the program, students learned about important scientific topics and issues such as pollinator extinction, photosynthesis, and climate change. They channeled their knowledge of pollinator extinction and the resulting threat it poses to today’s food crops into an incredibly creative art project. They used some of the crops they studied as the primary materials to make wearable, plant-based art that doubled as vertical gardens! 

The students were invited to present their creations at the 6th annual STEAM Conference on May 14th at Northeastern Illinois University, where they were among the youngest presenters. They additionally learned how to germinate a garden of pollinator plants that they will plant outside of their school. This program combined science, environmental crisis awareness, creativity, and fun, and proved that science and art thrive when brought together. 

Find out more about the program and see more of the students’ creations on our blog!