The Art of Science
Students in grade 5 are taking a closer look into the world of biology, studying the invasive species of Boston’s Harbor Islands through the eyes of artists. Under the guidance of Shane DePina, a local artist trained at the New England Institute of Art, students are learning to draw one of a list of creatures whose recent introduction to the Harbor Islands’ eco system has upset the ecological balance in some way. They will physically study their chosen invasive species in order to learn more about its physical adaptations.
Their study of invasive species began with Monday’s fieldwork to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Woods Hole, where they were able to observe, touch, and even help care for a number of sea creatures, both indigenous and alien to the Boston Harbor Islands. Through their learning expedition, students will investigate their chosen species’ diet, predators, role in the eco system, origin, and potential threat to the environment. Each student will become an expert on a particular species, and will present their information through an illustrated report.
Several grades are currently using art to enhance their study of biology. Students in 2nd Grade are working with local artist and former Conservatory Lab Resident Artist Monica DeVitry to create detailed drawings of their chosen snakes. “When you draw something realistically you have to pay close attention to detail,” explained math/science teacher Katheryn Funderburk, “that level of detail is critical to making scientific observations.”