Great Mini-Grant Programs

Art or Science? Using Careful Observations to Discover and Create

Aidé Villalobos, Teacher
Evergreen Elementary School
Shelton, WA

Aidé Villalobos wanted to introduce her 2nd grade students, many of whom are learning English as a second language, to the beauty of scientific illustration combined with art and writing activities. She decided to apply for an EJK Mini-Grant to make it happen!

Students learned about Carol Linnaeus, through reading, field trips to observe plant life, science lessons and participation in art lessons co-taught by a retired art/science professor. Two scientists from the US Forest Service taught the children that careful observations, documented through words, pictures and drawings, were key to scientific learning. In the art lessons, students learned about blind contour, texture, layering, blending colors with colored pencils and finally, watercolors.

After the art and science lessons, children illustrated postcards with the Washington State Flower, the Rhododendron. The final activity was writing a letter to a family member. Students, including those who had struggled with writing all year, were extremely motivated to write to someone they care about. Postcards, affixed with The Snowy Day postage stamps, were sent to places including Mexico, Guatemala and to a parent stationed overseas in the military.

Through this project, Ms. Villalobos learned more about her students and their families. “ I was surprised to learn about my students’ art talents that I would never have known had I not done this project in my class. Some of them are the same students that struggle in reading and math.”