Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Today in the CSS wood shop

 This morning in the CSS wood shop, first second and third grade students made desk organizers as  shown at left. Each had room for two pencils, note cards, and eraser and folding foot long ruler.  Seventh, 8th and 9th grade students finished their low dining table made from a pine stump, and we applied finish to the computer cabinets which will be used to hold and charge laptop computers in the middle school and high school classrooms.

For just a few minutes this afternoon, I want to address the issue of curriculum and project design from an angle proposed by the importance of the hands in learning. The basic principles and elements of design by artists are intended as a set of goals for 2 dimensional work, and a means to accomplish those goals. They also apply to 3-d design and the design of curriculum and even schools as institutions. The principles, or objectives (goals) of design are as follows and apply whether you are designing a box, a large piece of furniture or a school experiential learning opportunity for kids:
  • Unity 
  • Harmony 
  • Contrast 
  • Proportion 
  • Rhythm 
  • Balance 
  • Visual illusion or effective surprise
The elements of design consists of a set of conceptual tools used to attain the goals outlined as design principles. A visual object is an organization of:
  • Points 
  • Lines 
  • Planes,
  • Shapes
  • Focal point 
  • Scale 
  • Texture 
  • Value 
  • Color 
  • Space
Of these elements, some apply more to 3-d objects and educational experiences than others. At this point, I have only opened this door a small crack, but wanted to show that the principles and elements of design, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, offers the potential of rich educational design.  Just as an artist may use the principles and elements of design to evaluate and improve his or her own work, a craftsman or educator can do the same thing. If you notice the richness of the language, you will see something of what is lacking in too many schools: texture and color. Kindergarten as it first came into vogue in the late 1800s made an early start in the use of color as it made some of the first attempts to make the educational experience a rich and visually fulfilling one. For many reasons, that richness of educational experience rarely makes it past 2nd grade. And too many students lose interest, become discouraged, or even disruptive and drop out.

Make, fix and create...

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