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The Art of Science Exhibits
First Graders at the Academy of Sciences


When Science Specialist Cynthia Trapanese and Art Teacher Susan Turner first met during faculty orientation, they shared a vision of planning field trips together to illustrate for students how science and art work together. This week’s first grade trip to Golden Gate Park and its two famous science and art museums is the first of their collaboration. 

At the California Academy of Sciences, students not only explored exhibits based on their individual interests, but were guided to notice how art is used in the science museum. For example, students were encouraged to pay attention to the artists that create the visual parts of the exhibits, the authors who write the descriptions, the photographers who help show us tiny things, and the visual aesthetic of each exhibit. At the de Young Museum of Art, “We looked at how artists portray “science-y” things in their artwork, such as paintings of animals, landforms, and physics,” explains Ms. Trapanese. 

The students also had a chance to explore the de Young with a guided discovery scavenger hunt, taking photos with their chaperone groups as they found artworks around the museum. When looking at a very realistic painting, one student remarked, “That artist must have closely observed that person to be able to paint them that way.”

Weaving in aspects of their classroom to the field trip, students were able to see in person Faith Ringgold's “Tar Beach,” the story quilt on which her award-winning children's book of the same name was based. “In art class, we read Tar Beach as a kick off to our quilt unit,” said Ms. Turner. “So seeing Ringgold’s work in person was special for us all!” 


First Graders at the de Young museum