DECEMBER 13, 2000

Freshmen Integrate Art and Science With Elementary School Students Collaboration to be Featured on International Science Day
By Diane Dale, Carnegie Mellon News, December 13, 2000

Carnegie Mellon's interdisciplinary arts programs in the College of Fine Arts, the Bachelor of Humanities and Arts (BHA) and the Bachelor of Sciences and Arts (BSA), are joining Cardinal Wright Regional School and The Pittsburgh Children's Museum in a collaborative project integrating art and science.

The alliance was one of 13 such projects nationwide to be selected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to be featured next spring on International Public Science Day. The day was created to raise public awareness about the importance of science education, and to heighten enthusiasm for scientific learning.

The theme for this year's International Public Science Day is "Science Works! How Science Benefits Your Community."

Freshmen in the BHA and BSA program will work with fifth graders from Cardinal Wright Regional School on Pittsburgh's North Side to create visual and performing works of art. They'll collaborate on campus and at the elementary school to allow all participants to experience working in a new and different cultural environment.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for BHA and BSA students to have a community outreach experience during their freshman year," said Patricia Maurides, director of the interdisciplinary degree programs.

Each group of students will use Carnegie Mellon's video-probe microscope to help them create a visual artwork or a performance art piece. The "Scope On A Rope" is a high-powered microscope and a live-action video camera. When a user touches an item with the lens, the scope instantly illuminates and magnifies the item, then projects the image onto a monitor. Different lenses enable the user to increase or decrease the magnification.

"Introducing children to the visual wonders of microscopy will nurture an understanding that both art and science share similar goals in seeking to increase levels of observation, awareness and perception," Maurides said.

The students' explorations and creations are being videotaped and documented in writing, and will later be showcased on a project Web site. The results of their collaborations will also be featured on International Public Science Day next spring at the Pittsburgh Children's Museum, where the project will be a prototype for a future permanent exhibit.

The museum will install the video-microscope for public exploration, and large-screen projections of the project Web site will be featured.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to combine science in everyday life," Maurides said.

Reflections on Outreach Project (Related Article)